November 19th is International Men's Day.
Let's create meaningful change by coming together to challenge the narrative, remove mental health stigma and create a society where everyone feels valued and supported.
To move beyond the assumption that 'Men don't naturally talk' and change the narrative, we need to ask better questions to safeguard the mental wellbeing of our sons, brothers, dads, uncles, male friends, husbands and partners.
We need to be asking questions like:
How do we actively support men who are struggling?
How can we break down the barriers/prejudices/stigmas within our society that hold men back from opening up?
How do we help men to be the best version of themselves?
How can we change the Narrative?
Parents of young children (boys and girls) need to encourage their children to talk openly about their feelings. Before bed, encourage your children to share something about their day that made them happy, made them sad, and something they worried about that day. This will help raise children who will find it easy to open up and talk about feelings like fear, worry and sadness.
Encourage the men in our lives:
Encourage the men in our lives to become more active and connected.
Research suggests that men bond more during shared, intense experiences such as group sporting and social activities.
Reduce Gender Bias of all kinds:
Raise our boys to be men with purpose, passion and compassion by changing the narrative and not playing the gender blame game.
Call out domestic abuse:
Men are often the victims of domestic abuse rather than perpetrators and are often under-reporting due to shame and the stigma of being a male victim of violence.
Change our language and attitudes:
Refrain from using language like - 'man-up', 'who wears the trousers in a relationship or 'mansplaining' (to name a few)
Help Men feel Psychological Safety:
All of us are at our best when we feel safe and supported and know we can speak up about how we feel.
Feeling safe means not being worried about being belittled or afraid of repercussions for talking up, and not feeling worried that you will be ignored or disbelieved when you share how you feel. Open up about your struggles and challenges and listen to other people's struggles/challenges.
Need Urgent Support
If you urgently need support, please get in touch with the Samaritans.
The Samaritans telephone service is available 24 hours a day.
For confidential, non-judgmental support:
Freephone 116 123
Visit www.samaritans.ie for details of the nearest branch
This free 24/7 text service provides immediate support for people going through a mental health crisis.
Text HELLO to 50808, anytime day or night.
Resources specifically for men.
The Men's Development Programme
The Men's Development Programme has existed since 1997 and is central to engaging men and boys and creating gender-equal communities and society. The Programme has 3 core elements:
To engage men and boys in new conversations around their physical, mental, emotional, social, and interpersonal health and wellbeing. To develop the capacities and skillsets of men and boys, including as community leaders and advocates for gender equality.
To assist participants in the Development Programme to be their most authentic selves. To find out more about their work, visit https://mensnetwork.ie/
Men's Aid supports men experiencing domestic violence and abuse, now or in the past. They provide specialist counselling, practical information and legal options. They will respect and support you no matter your decision, whether you want to leave the relationship you're in or if you want to stay.
Their services include:
National Confidential Helpline on 01 554 3811
Counselling both face-to-face and over the phone
Legal advice and practical support
To find out more, go to Home - Men's Aid (mensaid.ie)
A 'men's shed' is a community-based project where men can come together to learn, share skills and make long-lasting friendships together; to find a shed near you, visit All Provinces | Irish Men's Sheds Association (menssheds.ie)