From a young age boys are told that they can’t play with dolls and toy kitchens, that they can’t show an an ounce of emotion because they will be seen as weak. When they reach their teen years boys are pressured to become a man by loosing their virginity and sleeping with as many girls. When boy become men they almost become their own enemy with the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 is suicide.
Now, suicide is a very complex issue and every case of suicide has its on mix of emotions linked to it. However with 70% of suicides in 2014 being men, we do need to start and question why there are so many more men feeling the pressure to take their own life. As a society we through away men’s mental health, we are aware of the high number of male suicides however when it comes to suicide prevention we don’t take men into account. A leaflet a black and white photo of a man holding his head with both hands is not going to cut it, a leaflet with facts and statistics and helplines in many cases going to get thrown away. What we need to do is re-wire the minds of men and society and let men know that it is ok to share their worries and crying won’t make them weak.
“How are you?” is one of the most popular questions in the english language, commonly answered with a throw away answer of “Yeah I am fine” instead of maybe telling someone what they are really feeling. It is all to common men go to the pub to have a pint and talk sports, instead of sharing what really is going on in their life, maybe because they fear or worried that they look weak.
The current definition of man up is: “To fulfill your responsibilites as a man, despite your insecurities and constant ability to place yourself in embarrasing and un-manly scenarios.” (Urban Dictionary). I propose we flip the definition right on it’s head and have the action of manning up, people sharing their emotions and allowing themselves be vulnerable. If being a man is about being courageous than what can be more courageous than looking after yourself and confiding in your friends and family when you have a problem.
Man Up “To fulfill your responsibilities as a human, and take care of yourself and mind! If you have a problem tell someone! Don’t keep it yourself and take the weight off your shoulders”.
There are positives changes being made in prevention of male suicide, with preventions being made with men in mind. CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) is an award wining charity working towards preventing male suicide. Their campaigns are tailed towards men and aims to change the culture of how we view men. One of their leading campaigns is CALMzine a magazine created by men for men which embraces what it is like to be a man of 21st Century.
We no longer need the men in our lives to be proud and have the weight of their shoulders, we need them to break the taboo of sharing their emotions and let people know when they are facing issues.