International Men’s Day is held on 19 November each year to advocate for improved quality of men’s and boy’s lives in society. International Men’s Day (IMD) focuses on encouraging responsible males and highlighting positive male role models. It also highlights men’s issues such as health, mental health, parenting, child care, family relationships, and social relationships.
The theme for 2016 is ‘Stop Male Suicide.’ Global suicide rates have increased 65% in the last 45 years. The increase is disproportionately affecting men.
The suicide rate for men is higher than the rate for women in 97% of countries in the world. On average the suicide rate for men is up to three times the rate of female suicides.
Male suicide is worse in Western nations. In America and the United Kingdom the ratio is 4 male suicides for every one female suicide. In Australia and Canada the ratio is 3 male suicides for every one female suicide. In Russia six males suicide each year for every one female suicide. In China the rate is equal.
The message for the 2016 International Men’s Day is LEARN LOVE LISTEN, espoused by the United Kingdom IMD coordinator, Glen Poole, who has written a book called ‘Stop Male Suicide.’
International Men’s Day coincides with the Movember month promoted by the Movember Foundation to promote men’s health and prevent young men from dying. Inadequate men’s health is a contributing factor to the increasing male suicides across the world. Globally men’s average life expectancy is 69 years, whereas women’s average life expectancy is 74 years.
International Men’s Day is observed in over 60 countries with events such as seminars, conferences, festivals, fundraisers, school activities, community events, radio and television programs, campaigns, and parades.
International Men’s Day is not yet observed officially by the United Nations – as it is for many international days, although it is supported by UN. The inaugural International Men’s Day was held in Trinidad and Tobago on 19 November 1999. Petitions have been circulated to encourage the United Nations General Assembly to adopt a resolution to officially declare 19 November as International Men’s Day. Currently men share the day on 8 March, the United Nation’s International Women’s Day.
Photographs: Three men by Frey & Mosby (July 2015) and The Workmen by Frey & Mosby (August 2016)