By Róisín Kilroy
The lack of knowledge surrounding International men’s day highlights the issues facing men in 2018.
International men’s day takes place today across the world. The event, which was started in 1999, seeks to focus attention on men’s mental health and the presence of positive male role models.
Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh, one of the founders of the day said: “International Men’s Day encourages men to teach the boys in their lives the values, character and responsibilities of being a man.”
In 2017, 75% of suicides were committed by men and the level of male suicide in Scotland rose for the third consecutive year. Suicide is the leading cause of death among men under the age of 45.
Nick Jedrzejewski, communications manager of See Me, a Scottish based mental health organisation said: “Men in particular find it difficult to speak out as we are not encouraged to admit when we are struggling.”
He added: “for many of us, we just need an opportunity or an invitation to talk about how we’re feeling to start the process of getting help. Because no one should ever be made to feel ashamed or embarrassed to tell anyone that they are experiencing a difficult time with their mental health. It’s okay not to be okay, regardless of your gender.”
We interviewed six men today, asking if they were aware it was international men’s day, and if they thought there was enough focus around men’s mental health.
George, 52, said: “I haven’t given it a thought.”
However, most agreed that the topic of men’s mental health isn’t talked about enough.
Murray, 26, said that: “I’ve seen more mental health information at universities mainly, but that’s just in general. The statistics don’t surprise me, men have a reluctance to talk. Mental health information could be targeted towards men more.”
Billy, 30, said: “A lot of men believe that they can handle their mental health, but they can’t.” His friend, Rob, 34, said: “Yeah I agree with that.”
Gregor, 20, said that: “November is a big month for men with Movember, I didn’t know that it was International Men’s day, but it makes sense it being there. I think that you can only help yourself.”
Darragh, 20, said: “I think that it’s about 12 men a day that commit suicide in the UK. I think the facts and figures are a good thing, they remind you to ask your pals how they’re doing, how they’re really doing. ”