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#MENtalHealth: Why we need International Men's Day


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Today is International Men’s Day, a day which may seem controversial and divisive to many, particularly in a year filled with the #MeToo movement and the countless other male-dominated controversies of late. However, this is not some misogynistic celebration of male-privilege, nor a blatant disregard for the feminist struggle, but is, in fact, an important annual milestone highlighting the struggles of men and boys around the world.

The idea that men do not need a day of recognition is a key part of the issue which International Men’s Day seeks to overcome, and a significant contributing factor in the environment of toxic masculinity which has become prevalent across the last two generations.

Image credit: 'Boys cry too', an original illustration by Laura Hope for this article

Currently, there are around 12 men a day in the United Kingdom that take their own life and suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 35, with 4,287 male suicides in 2016 accounting for 76% of all recorded. This factor contributes to the overall statistic that men are more likely than women to die prematurely and that one in five men dies before the age of 65.

It is astounding that, in the year 2018, men are still faced with the age-old adage “boys don’t cry” and that in times of plight, struggle and illness, all we need to do is “man up”. It is exactly this type of standpoint that International Men’s Day is seeking to overcome.

Some UK mental health helplines:

Mind: 0300 123 3393 / text 86463

Samaritans: 116 123

CALM: 0800 58 58 58

Papyrus: 0800 068 41 41

Focusing on the high male suicide rate, the challenges faced by male victims of sexual violence and the negative portrayal of men, boys and fathers in the media, International Men’s Day is an opportunity for us all to shine a light on both the conscious and subconscious discrimination which still faces men across the world.

Today is an international day of observance that is held every year in more than 60 countries worldwide and invites every man, woman, girl and boy to come together and celebrate the amazing diversity of men across the planet, irrespective of sexuality, race or economic circumstances.

International Men’s Day is an important date in the calendar; it stands as a reminder that there is still work to be done in telling our young men that it is okay not to be okay, and telling our fathers that it is okay to cry.

Join the countless others around the world in supporting the cause.

To find out more about International Men's Day, visit

This article is part of The National Student’s MENtal Health content series which is led by Laura Brown. You can see more from the series here.

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