International Men’s Day 2013 Theme Announced

imd-uk-supporter-logo-border35-1By Glen Poole, Helping Men Director and UK Co-ordinator for International Men’s Day
One of the international roles that Helping Men plays is to help set the annual theme for International Men’s Day which is celebrated in more than 70 countries around the world each year on 19th November.
We also invite and encourage people all over the UK to use International Men’s Day on Tuesday 19th November 2013 as a platform to help you with your work improving the lives of men and boys in the UK.
The theme for this year’s International Men’s Day is ‘Keeping Men and Boys Safe’. The first time I typed the phrase ‘keeping men safe’ into google in 2010 in came back with the question “do you mean ‘keeping women safe’?” which made we consider how differently we might be treating men and women when it comes to taking are of their safety and wellbeing.
People all over the world are used to relating to men as protectors and providers, but how often do we consider the actions we can all take to protect Men and boys from harm and provide them with a safe world where they can thrive and prosper?
In the run up to International Men’s Day (19 November 2013) we are asking supporters of the day to focus on five key challengers that will help create a better world for everyone by Keeping Men and Boys Safe:
1. Keeping Men And Boys Safe By Tackling Male Suicide
2. Keeping Boys Safe So They Can Become Tomorrow’s Role Models
3. Tackling Our Tolerance Of Violence Against Men And Boys
4. Boosting Men’s Life Expectancy By Keeping Men And Boys Safe From Avoidable Illness And Death
5. Keeping Men And Boys Safe By Promoting Fathers And Male Role Models
To read more about why this 5 challenges are important see: Helping Men Blog Post On International Men’s Day
Posted in NEWS

Helping Men In ITN Debate

suicide_speak_reachGlen Poole from Helping Men will be taking part in a debate on Young Male Suicide this evening (Thursday 17th January 2013) on ITN Truthloader at 7pm

ITN’s online channel will be asking “Why are so many men killing themselves?” and Glen will be joining a panel of experts to explore some of the underlying issues.

Ten men a day kill themselves in England and Wales and suicide is now the biggest killer of young men aged 16-34 in the UK taking the life of 930 young men every year.

Research into this subject by Samaritans, Mind, the Mental Health Foundation, Helping Men and others has found that:

1. Young Men Lack Support - 7 out of 10 suicidal young men say they have nowhere to turn for emotional support (Samaritans)
2. Young Men Lack Effective Coping Strategies – suicidal young men are ten times more likely to take an illegal drug to relieve stress
3. Young Men Lack Male Roles – fatherless young men are twice as likely to kill themselves (BBC) and young men without male role models are 3 times more likely to be depressed (Prince’s Trust)
4. Young Men Are Victims Of Violence – 7 out of 10 (69%) suicidal young men have experienced violence (Samaritans)
5. Young Men At Risk Of Offending Are Also A Suicide Risk – Young offenders are 18 times more likely to commit suicide (Royal College Of Psychiatrists)
6. Young Men Lack Family Support - Suicidal young men are 8 times more likely than non-suicidal counterparts to be living alone, in care or hostels or without a family structure (Katz et al, 1999)
7. Young Men Lack Education – Boys are four times more likely to be excluded from school and excluded boys are 19 times more likely to commit suicide (Every Child A Reader Trust)
8. Young Soldiers Need More Support – Young men leaving the armed forces at 2-3 times more likely to commit suicide. (Royal College Of Psychiatrists)
9. Young Men Need Jobs – Men who are unemployed are two to three times more likely to commit suicide and a rise in male unemployment is linked to a rise in male suicide. Youth employment is hight and men are nearly twice as likely to be unemployed as young women (62% to 38%)
10. Young Men Want To Get Help – services targeted at young men like CALM UK have been successful in engaging  young men and Mind found that twice as many men as women would welcome mental health support delivered in places like job centres and the workplace.

To find out more about the ITN programme on young male suicide see the ITN Truthloader site.

To read more on the subject of male suicide see some of the following links:

Posted in NEWS

Male suicide up in Brighton & Hove as recession hits men

suicide_speak_reachMen in Brighton & Hove are killing themselves at a rate of one man every 10 days.

The recession is being blamed for the rise in suicides which increased by 5% in 2008-2010, compared with 2005-2009.

In the same period there was a 41% drop in suicides by women down to just 23 between 2008 and 2010

Men in Brighton & Hove are now 3.2 times more likely to kills themselves than women in the city.

The Argus reports the story as follows:

Money worries and unemployment caused by the outbreak of the recession are being blamed for an increase in the number of men taking their own lives according to a report in the Brighton Argus.

A study has revealed that the number of male suicides in Sussex increased during the beginning of the recession, while the number of female suicides dropped significantly.

The report by the University of Liverpool showed that there were 2% fewer male suicides between 2008 and 2010 in West Sussex – including Mid Sussex.

Some 123 cases were reported of men committing suicide. Female suicides decreased by 34% over the same period, with 42 deaths.

There were 74 male suicides in Brighton and Hove between 2008 and 2010 – a rise of 5% compared to the period 2005 to 2007.

For the same period there was a 41% drop in suicides by women down to just 23 between 2008 and 2010.

A similar pattern was seen in East Sussex where there was a 9% increase in male suicides but a 30% reduction in female suicides.

In 2008 to 2010 there were 109 male suicides and 38 female suicides in East Sussex compared to 99 male suicides and 56 female suicides in 2005 to 2007.

To read more about male suicide see the following posts:

 

Posted in NEWS

Conference review in Guardian by Ally Fogg

The Second National for Conference for Men and Boys has been reviewed by journalist Ally Fogg in a Guardian ‘comment is free’ article for International Men’s Day, in which he sings the praises of the emerging men and boys’ sector in the UK.

He writes” “The men’s sector, as represented that day, includes many brilliant organisations. In isolation they have done great things. But in coming together as a sector, for International Men’s Day or for a conference, we may be seeing the seeds of a new unity, a recognition that the problems they face are often the same one.

“Although it was billed as an event for the men and boys “sector”, conference organiser Glen Poole used his own plenary session to spell out his dream of a global men’s movement.

“The vision laid out by Poole was very different. Like the day itself, it focused on specific social injustices that specifically or disproportionately affect men and boys, mostly well-recognised and uncontroversial. All he did was join the dots.

“Are we seeing the seeds of a new men’s movement? The phrase seems grandiose, but the word “sector” is not enough. To begin to address and reverse these problems will need not only the intervention of specialist services, but the engagement of the media, politics and the public at large. The first step in solving any problem is to identify and acknowledge its existence, and International Men’s Day is a very good place to start.”

The article is followed by hundreds of readers comments both supporting and challenging International Men’s Day and the value of a men’s movement. The comments include this one from a reader called JDBurton:

“Hurray! No, in fact HALLELUJAH! The fact that IMD has inspired the Guardian to print an actually thoughtful article that suggests this, rather than the usual stereotyping dross it usually publishes about men shows that it’s already had an effect. This has made me happy.”

Click here now to read the full article.

Posted in NEWS

Happy International Men’s Day

Happy International Men’s Day to you!  Monday 19th November 2012 is International Men’s Day (IMD) so why not join us in celebrating men and boys in the UK today?

IMD is now celebrated in more than 60 countries worldwide and this year’s celebrations are the biggest the UK has ever seen with events being held all over the country; surveys and reports being published; new websites and campaigns being lauched and funds being raised for various causes supporting men and boys in different ways.

Once again The Men’s Network has been leading on co-ordinating the day in the UK. Here’s just a selection of what’s happening on International Men’s Day in the UK this year (click on the links to find out more today):

If you take time to spread the word about International Men’s Day in the UK today let us know how you mark the day by contacting glen@themensnetwork.org.uk.

And whatever you do today have a Happy International Men’s Day!

Posted in NEWS

Why we need to get better at Helping Men Get Help

BY GLEN POOLE, STRATEGIC DIRECTOR, THE MEN’S NETWORK

Men are notoriously bad at getting help, taking care of our health and when it comes to talking – well we just don’t talk.

Hands up who’s heard these types of statements – maybe even said them yourselves?

And how many times have you heard someone say that “the helping professions are hopeless at helping men and boys get help”?  Probably never or hardly ever!

Well that’s the focus of a new course I’ll be running later this month and the purpose of this post is to give you a flavour of the course and share with you our Top Five Tips For Helping Men Get Help.

And if you want to come on the. course this time or are interested in taking this course in the future then there are further details for you at the end of this post.

Of course it isn’t true that everyone working in the helping professions is hopeless at helping men get help – just as it isn’t true that ALL men are notoriously bad at getting help.

But rather than focus on what men do or don’t do, the Helping Men Get Help course helps professionals working with men and boys to learn some tried and tested techniques to help more men get help and access your services and projects.

Everything you will learn on the course is drawn from one of three sources:

  • National and international research on the barriers men and boys face when accessing services
  • Real life examples of best practice many of which were showcased at the recent National Conference for Men and Boys
  • Direct personal experience of successfully helping more men access help and support

The course is designed for service providers in areas such as health promotion, parenting, education, social care, mental health, support groups, community safety and housing. The course is for anyone concerned with helping men and boys get better access to and outcomes from their existing services, or anyone interested in developing new services and projects for men and boys.

The skills you learn will help you make your case to funders and commissioners, help you create effective marketing campaigns and help you design and deliver your services in a way that will help more men to access the help and support you provide.

Obviously the only way to get the full value of this course is to come  along and do the course, but we thought we’d share our Top Five Tips for Helping Men Get Help to get you thinking about how you can make some changes to the way you approach working with men and boys.

TIP ONE: Champion equality for men

Men and boys are a distinct group with specific needs who face a number of inequalities in terms of their access to and outcomes from a broad range of public services.

The Government tells us it is  “committed to equal treatment and equality of opportunity for all and to addressing existing inequalities for men….wherever they are found”. The Government also says “it is equally committed to taking action to address the needs of men and boys where the evidence shows inequalities exist”

There are many examples where men and boys are unequal because they are in the majority – eg we are the majority of crime victims, rough sleepers, premature adult deaths, suicides, underperforming pupils, children excluded from school, parents separated from our children etc.

We can also experience inequality when we are in the minority, eg when we are victims of domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse or have an eating disorder. Being in minority means services are not tailored to our needs and we considerably less likely to access those services as a result.

If you want to become more effective at helping more men get help the first step is to acknowledge the inequalities that men and boys face and become a champion for their equality.

TIP TWO: Meet men where they are

If you want to deliver services that are more effective at helping men get help then it’s really important to meet men where they are not where you want them to be or think they should be.

At a basic level this can mean meeting men where they are physically. Some of the most successful services don’t wait for men to show up, they find out where the men they want to help are and go and meet them there  – in pubs, workplaces, football grounds, even in some instances knocking on their doors.

It can also mean meeting men where they already are practically. Men are more likely to be in work, more likely to work full time and overtime and more likely to work away from their home town. Some of the most successful men’s services work because they operate in the evenings or weekends when men are more likely to be available.

Finally, it can mean meeting men where they are psychologically using language, settings and set-ups that are familiar and comfortable to men and boys, rather than expecting them to fit themselves into services that use language, settings and set-ups that are already working well for most women, but may never be appropriate for the majority of men you want to help.

TIP THREE: Call a spade a spade

This is the easiest and often quickest way to get more men into your service and it’s so obvious it’s astounding that the vast majority of services don’t do this.

Make sure you are telling men that men are welcome to access your service. If you advertise a parenting service to ‘parents and carers’ or a health service to ‘people over 40’ you can guarantee that lots of women will turn up but very few men.

If you take the simple step of advertising a parenting service for dads or a health service for ‘men over 40’, the only thing that will stop more men turning up at your service is the quality of your advertising (in it’s broadest sense including PR, word-of-mouth etc).

If more men turn up for a while and then stop coming, then you need to look beyond your advertising to the services you are providing to find our why they don’t work as well for men.

TIP FOUR: Be proudly pro-male

If you were gay, black, disabled or Chinese can you image turning up to a service where the staff are unwelcoming to, negative towards, suspicious of, or harbour low opinions about gay people, black people, disabled people or Chinese people? How likely would you be to access that service?

Ask yourselves honestly maybe rating yourselves on a scale of 1 – 10:

  • Are you and all of your colleagues welcoming to men?
  • Are you and all of your colleagues positive about men?
  • Do you and all of your colleagues trust men?
  • Do you and all of your colleagues have a high opinion of men?
  • Do you and you colleagues have different personal opinions about men and women?

If I asked you and all your colleagues to complete the following sentences what would you say?

“All women deserve my help and support because………..”

“All men deserve my help and support because…….”

Are you proudly pro-male and proudly pro-female? Or is the way that you and your colleagues think about men and women in general different and does that different what of thinking promote men’s equality or add to their inequality?

TIP FIVE: Change the gender discourse

The Big Lottery’s INVISIBLE MEN report published in the summer explored the barriers that exist which prevent men from engaging with projects and services as a beneficiary.

It found that: “one of the biggest barriers in engaging men into social projects is this overall resistance to engage with gender as an issue from a male perspective. Despite evidence that tells us that that male engagement is an issue, we do not rethink our approach. This needs to be tackled so that engagement can happen effectively.”

We have a simple trick for helping you to rethink your approach. You may consider that the ways services tend to view men and women is through a gender filter where women HAVE problems and men ARE problems – and this is reflected in the types of services we offer men and the point at which men access services.

Whilst there are more men and boys who are victims of violence than there are men and boys who are perpetrators of violence, there are more services for male perpetrators of violence (men who ARE problems) than there are services for male victims of violence (men who HAVE problems).

If we mostly provide services for men who ARE problems then it is little wonder that men who HAVE problems are not coming forward to access our services.

Try looking at the problems your service wants to address through new eyes, through a gender filter where women HAVE problems and men HAVE problems too. And then begin to look at the problems men HAVE as an opportunity to work with men, to help them overcome their challenges so they can flourish and thrive and grow and realize their greatest potential.

In this way you can start to play your part in changing the gender discourse to help us all become more effective at addressing the inequalities that women experience and the inequalities that men experience.

FINALLY, if you want to become more skilled at Helping Men Get Help then the new course Helping Men Get Help takes place in Brighton on Wednesday 28th November.

The course is run through of training partner Leading The Change and costs £150 per delegate and the good news is we have a special Friends of The Men’s Network offer for you to access this course for just £50.

You can click here now to buy your discounted ticket today and to find out more about the course click on this link now.

 

Posted in NEWS

Take 2 minutes to complete survey on men’s issues

The team behind International Men’s Day in the UK is running a snap survey to help identify what people working with men and boys think are the most important men’s issues. It only takes 2 minutes to complete the survey and you can do this now by following this link.

Issues under consideration include:

  • Giving boys a better education
  • Equal rights for dads
  • Improving men’s health and life expectancy
  • Beating male cancer and tackling men’s cancer inequalities
  • Tackling male unemployment
  • Stopping male suicide
  • Ending violence against men and boys
  • Ending unnecessary male circumcision
  • Tackling male disposability
  • Tackling negative portrayals of men in the media

If issues that are important to you are not included in the online questionnaire do please email glen@themensnetwork.org.uk so your concerns can be included in the final analysis.

And to take part and complete this survey now please follow this link.

Posted in NEWS
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