Bet you didn’t know that the 19th November is International Men’s Day? The day intends to make a difference in the lives of men and boys and help people consider the issues that affect men and boys such as: the high male suicide rate men’s shorter life expectancy (including all men’s health issues, workplace deaths and homelessness) the unaddressed issues of violence against men and boys (including sexual violence and domestic abuse) the struggles that boys can face in getting an education the unique challenges of the father-child relationship the sometimes negative portrayal of fathers, and, men and boys. International Men’s Day in the UK provides a fantastic opportunity for you to have some serious fun and highlight some of these serious issues. International Men’s Day (IMD) is a global day of observance held every year in more than 60 countries around the globe and is a global grassroots movement that invites every man, woman, girl and boy in the world to come together and celebrate men and boys in all their diversity. As a day of observance IMD places its focus on that which unites humanity – giving everyone who wants to celebrate International Men’s Day the opportunity to help work towards IMD’s shared objectives which are applied equally to men and boys irrespective of their age, ability, social background, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, religious belief and relationship status. Those objectives are: To promote male role models To celebrate the contribution that men make To focus on men’s health and wellbeing To highlight the discrimination against men the inequalities that men and boys face To improve gender relations and promote gender equality To create a safer world for everyone. This month we also celebrate ‘Movember’ where men sport a variety of moustaches to raise awareness of men’s issues. In recent years, this has grown and expanded from the opportunity to avoid shaving for 30 days to addressing many health topics including suicide prevention among men. Part of the stigma that still exists about mental health for men is that men have greater difficulty talking about their own struggles than women do. Why does it seem to be more difficult for men to address their own mental health? Men are still faced with some outdated stereotypes, these include expectations of strength, dominating positions of power, the idea that strong and silent is alluring/attractive, the “show no weakness” bravado of heroes in our media. In many of these macho images, there is little room for showing poor mental health. The men who are most revered in society (famous, wealthy, successful, powerful) are not always ready to admit their struggles in public and that can leave the “average bloke” feeling uncertain about speaking out. One by one, more of these revered men are coming forward and openly addressing mental health; footballers, politicians, actors, anyone can talk about it. These men are not weak or failing by speaking out, in fact, they are the brave ones. The expression “man up” is still often used for the wrong reasons, unfortunately. The concept that mental health can be conquered by simply acting more “like a man” is misguided.