Every year on 19 November, people around the world celebrate International Men’s Day, but it is not just another holiday or a cause for gift-giving. It’s an annual event that acknowledges the positive contributions of men to the world, their families, and their communities. However, it’s also an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges and issues that men and boys face, such as health, education, violence, and discrimination. This year, the theme for International Men’s Day 2023 is “Zero Male Suicide”. This theme aims to spread awareness about the alarming rate of male suicide around the world and encourages men to seek help and support when they are struggling with mental health issues. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of this theme and how everyone can help prevent male suicide.
The idea that men are strong and should always remain in control of their emotions has been ingrained in our society. However, this perception of masculinity has led to a culture whereby men do not feel comfortable discussing their mental health struggles openly. Male suicide is becoming an increasingly pressing problem, and it has been reported that suicide is the leading cause of death in men aged 15-44 in Australia2. Nonetheless, the current pandemic has contributed to a surge in mental health issues among men worldwide. It is essential to discuss the issues of male mental health and suicide openly. If we are going to eradicate male suicide, it’s critical to understand first that it’s okay to not be okay and to ask for help.
According to the World Health Organization, men are more likely to die by suicide than women, accounting for approximately 75% of all suicides3. The numbers show that there is a significant need to address this issue. We need to focus on creating spaces where men feel comfortable discussing their mental health struggles without the fear of being stigmatized. We also need to recognize the symptoms of mental health struggles in men and encourage them to seek professional help.
The “Zero Male Suicide” theme highlights the need for more action and research towards preventing male suicide. We must look into the underlying causes of male suicide, such as societal pressure, economic, and political factors contributing to the crisis. Organizations and healthcare providers can use this opportunity to link more men to mental health resources and build more community support. Support networks for men who have experienced suicidal thoughts need to be accessible to more people to help those with mental health issues to overcome these struggles.
We all have a role to play in the fight against male suicide. As individuals, we can check on our male friends and family members and provide them with the support they need when they are struggling. We can also educate ourselves about male mental health to better manage symptoms of depression and other mental health issues. As a community, we can advocate for programs geared towards male mental health.
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