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Why We Need To Discuss Men

UPDATE: The full transcription of the 2015 International Men’s Day debate is now available: http://bit.ly/1HcKM3B 

This Thursday – International Men’s Day – for the first time male suicide is scheduled as a topic for debate in Commons. Here’s why we need to discuss men:

Every year in the UK, over 4,500 men kill themselves, with between three and four times as many male suicides as female suicides.  There are many other areas of life where men fare particularly badly:

  • 73% of adults who ‘go missing’ are men and 90% of rough sleepers are men
  • Men are three times more likely than women to become alcohol dependent and 79% of drug-related deaths occur in men
  • Men make up 94% of the prison population
  • Men and boys from all backgrounds have shorter life expectancies than women and girls of the same background
  • Boys from all backgrounds are underperforming girls at every stage of education
  • 82% of fathers want to spend more time with their families and men are more likely to report work-life conflict

Men make up about half the UK population and, given some of the quite startling statistics above, we believe that we should look at the position men find themselves in society and how we can make changes to ensure a fairer world for all.  It may be a man’s world, but there are 12 men a day who take their lives in the UK.  Clearly for them, and for the vast numbers of men and boys who are in prison, homeless or simply living shorter lives, the ‘man’s world’ isn’t working very well.

CALM welcomes the Parliamentary debate this Thursday and encourages you to get your voice heard: Email/tweet or write to your MP today to make sure they attend the debate.  Tell them your story, tell them why this issue is important to you, and send them this Parliamentary Briefing.  Find their details, and Twitter handle here.

Everyone’s lives matter. Suicide IS preventable. Male suicide is the biggest single killer of men under the age of 45. In 2014, more than three quarters (76 per cent) of all suicides were men, 4,623 deaths. Our YouGov poll found more than four in 10 men (42 per cent) had considered suicide, with two fifths (41 per cent) never talking to anyone about their problems.

The survey of over 2000 men found half (49 per cent) of those who didn’t seek help “didn’t want people to worry”.  A third (32 per cent) felt ashamed, nearly four in 10 (37 per cent), did not want to make a fuss and four in 10 (43 per cent) didn’t want to talk about their feelings.  According to the Department of Health’s Impact Assessment each suicide costs society an estimated £1.7 million. 

We believe that without a revolution in attitudes towards suicide, treating it as a major public health issue, these figures are unlikely to improve. So CALM launched a campaign aimed at raising awareness of male suicide

We believe that four simple changes can make a difference to what are preventable deaths:- 

Count – We need timely and accurate information to enable agencies to respond better.  At the moment, it can take up to two years to obtain an estimate of suicide numbers. We have a significant concern these are under-reported.

Contain – According to the World Health Organisation and over 50 research papers, there is a strong element of contagion with regard to suicide. We should treat it so and respond and support those impacted by suicide to prevent further loss of life, consequent illness, family breakup and job loss. 

Enforce – All local authorities need to develop and implement a suicide prevention plan. Those that do not should be named and shamed.

Accountability – If national and local suicide prevention plans are to be effective there must be accountability.

photo credit: On The Bridge via photopin (license)

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

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