Every year, International Men’s Day is commemorated on the same date - 19 November - around the world.
With suicide being the biggest killer of men under the age of 45, according to charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), encouraging people to have open conversations about topics such as men’s mental health and suicide is essential.
This year marks 28 years since the first International Men's Day celebration was held in Malta, and 21 years since the project was reinitialised in Trinidad and Tobago.
So why did International Men’s Day start and what does it celebrate? Here is everything you need to know.
When is International Men’s Day?
International Men’s Day is celebrated annually on 19 November.
The date coincides with the birthday of the father of Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, a doctor from Trinidad and Tobago who relaunched International Men’s Day in 1999.
Organisers say the event is designed to help more people consider what they can do to make a difference and to “give men and boys better life chances” by addressing issues such as high suicide rates, sexual abuse and health.
Every year on International Women’s Day, which falls on 8 March, the same questions get asked again and again on Twitter: “Is there an International Men's Day?” and “when is it?”
Comedian Richard Herring makes it his mission to educate naysayers on the existence of International Men’s Day, sharing comical replies to as many posts as he can.
In 2018 Herring used the attention that his tweets were receiving to raise more than £150,000 for domestic violence charity Refuge and in 2019, he set a target of £10,000 on his Just Giving page to raise money for CALM.
This year, the comedian has written a book, titled The Problem with Men: When is International Men's Day, with all proceeds going to CALM.
What does the day celebrate?
The aim of International Men’s Day is to celebrate positive male role models and to raise awareness of men’s issues.
These include topics such as mental health, toxic masculinity and the prevalence of male suicide.
In the UK, men are three times more likely than women to take their own lives, according to emotional support charity Samaritans.
International Men’s Day coincides with Movember, which involves men growing their facial hair in an effort to promote conversations about men’s mental health, suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
“The observances of International Men’s Day are part of a global love revolution,” said Dr Teelucksingh.
"International Men’s Day is observed on an annual basis by persons from all walks of life, who support the ongoing effort to improve lives, heal scarred hearts, seek solutions to social problems, mend troubled minds, reform the social outcasts and uplift the dysfunctional.
“International Men’s Day is designed to promote positive role models in society and develop wholesome individuals.”
What is this year’s theme?
Each year a theme is assigned to International Men’s Day. The theme for 2020 is the idea of “Better Health for Men and Boys”.
According to the International Men's Day website, the theme promotes “the need to value men and boys and help people make practical improvements in men and boy’s health and well-being”.
“The concept and themes of International Men’s Day are designed to give hope to the depressed, faith to the lonely, comfort to the broken-hearted, transcend barriers, eliminate stereotypes and create a more caring humanity," it adds.
If you are in need of mental health support, you can contact the free Samaritans helpline on 116 123, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.
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