International Men’s Day: Starting the conversation on Men’s Health

International Men’s Day hopes to break stigmas and start open conversations about men’s health as it is celebrated this Friday.

Founded in 1999 by Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, International Men’s Day (IMD) is now celebrated in over 60 countries worldwide on 19 November.

Each year the theme of the day changes, but the aim remains consistent: making positive differences to the wellbeing and lives of men and boys, and starting open conversations about men and boys’ health.

Many charities around the UK actively support IMD, such as Prostate Cancer UK and The Mankind Initiative. Below are some of the stories from survivors and the work these charities do.

Prostate Cancer UK

Prostate Cancer is the most common cancer in men across the UK, killing someone every 45 minutes. 

One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, with the average being higher for Black men and those with a history of prostate cancer in their family.

Prostate Cancer UK, in partnership with Movember, is conducting a first-of-its-kind study to understand why Black men develop prostate cancer at twice the rate of other men.

Former Manchester United, Queens Park Rangers and Fulham defender Paul Parker joined this ground-breaking study to help his sons, grandsons and all Black men following his Dad’s diagnosis.

He said: “Anything I can do to help stop them getting the disease in the future is my way of giving something back.

“My dad was lucky that his prostate cancer was caught so early. But we now need to dig deeper and really understand why Black men are at higher risk of the disease.

“If you’re a fit and healthy black man, aged between 40 and 69, I’d encourage you to come and join me. Come and do it for all the other Black men out there. That’s the reason I’m signing up.”

Dr Matthew Hobbs, Director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK, added; “At the end of the PROFILE study, the researchers hope to better understand why some men are more at risk and pave the way for new tests and treatments that could save their lives.”

The study is looking for people to participate. To sign up, contact the research team on 0208 722 4483 or by emailing [email protected]. To participate, you need to be:

  • Male, aged 40-69 years 
  • Of African or Caribbean descent, and both parents and all four grandparents should also be from the same background 
  • Prostate cancer-free when entering the study 
  • Able to travel to The Royal Marsden in Chelsea or Sutton for initial assessment and for follow-up tests. All travel expenses will be reimbursed. 

Prostate cancer often shows no symptoms so you shouldn’t wait until you see changes before acting. To see how you can help, please click here.

The Mankind Initiative

The Mankind Initiative, started in 2001, is the principal, expert and specialist charity in the UK focused on helping male victims of domestic abuse.

 As per government statistics of March 2020, we can see:

  • Men account for 75% of suicides in the UK
  • One in every six men will be victims in their lifetime
  • One in three victims of domestic abuse are men

There are stories of men’s experiences with domestic abuse on Mankind Initiative’s website. 

The one below is the story of Ed, a young man who at the time was in education.

Meeting his girlfriend in his last year of school, he quickly became alienated from his friends with his girlfriend bullying him into spending all his time with her. 

She emotionally and physically abused him, using threats against her own well being,  spreading rumours to make people see him differently and hacking social media to follow him wherever he was.

Ed eventually got away from his now ex and is in long-term therapy, feeling better and moving on with life – but the scars from his traumatic experience still haunt him.

Click here to read Ed’s full story and more stories from other survivors.

National Men and Boys Awards

Every year on 19 November, the Men and Boys Coalition runs the National Men and Boys awards to commemorate those who have committed their time and effort in support of the day.

Currently on Twitter, @MBCoalition are tweeting out videos from their shortlisted nominees across their categories including Campaigner of the year, Diversity and Inclusion and Lifetime achievement awards.

Nominations are closed for this year and the winners are set to be announced on International Men’s Day via Twitter.

The hope is that this day serves as a reminder for men and boys to talk about what is affecting them, their concerns about physical and mental health, and to seek help to overcome them.

All images courtesy of UK Men’s Day.

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