International Men’s Day: Why Is It Important?
*TRIGGER WARNING: This article covers issues related to mental health such as suicide.*
International Men’s Day takes place on 19th November every year, in over 60 different countries around the world. In this article, we will explore the purpose of International Men’s Day, and what you can do to celebrate it.
What is it?
International Men’s Day was first celebrated in the early 90s, yet was properly revived by Jerome Teelucksingh in Trinidad and Tobago in 1999. International Women’s Day celebrates the political and social victories of women such as gaining the vote. In contrast, International Men’s Day encourages awareness of issues that affect men’s health, promoting gender equality and celebrating male role models. It is a prime opportunity to talk about challenges that men and boys face, such as violence, sexual abuse and being ostracised from society. Most importantly, it is a day to consider how to aid men in these challenges and make lives better.
Many people use International Men’s Day to highlight the mental health struggles that affect a large proportion of men. The male suicide rate in the UK is worryingly high, as it is estimated that 84 men die by suicide per week. According to a Telegraph article, suicide is the most common cause of death for men under 45. Earlier this year, Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) launched ‘Project 84.’ The charity placed figures of 84 men on rooftops of buildings in London to represent men who die by suicide per week.
The reason that International Men’s Day raises these issues is that societal perceptions of men are partially to blame for these tragic events. It may not seem significant to tell someone to be ‘manly’ or to ‘man up.’ However, in doing so, this causes men to hide their true emotions which can lead to disastrous consequences. Take a look at the Project 84 website to read real-life examples of men who have taken their lives. These stories show how important International Men’s Day is, reassuring men there is no shame in speaking out.
What can I do?
The focus of International Men’s Day this year is on male role models. Take a minute to think about the male figures in your life, whether this is family, friends or a celebrity you follow. If it is someone close to you, make sure they know how important they are in your life and the positive impact they have had.
If you see someone struggling, then be there for them. Break the stigma which prevents men from getting help when they need it. Take part in fundraisers to raise money for men’s health charities. International Men’s Day coincides with Movember, where men grow moustaches to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer.
Change what it means to ‘be a man’ by spreading awareness of the challenges that men are facing, and joining the discussion that works to improve this for present and future generations. Life is short, so it is crucial that we do whatever we can to help ourselves, and others. Do your bit to promote happiness and show your appreciation for men!
Happy International Men’s Day from the team at VIVO Clinic!