Standing with #project84

On average 84 men kill themselves every week in the UK. This is unacceptable.

For me – it’s not just that they’re dying. It’s that they’re choosing to die. Reasons can range from financial problems, to abuse within the home.

My beautiful older brother Matthew (featured above) took his own life 6 months ago. The news was shocking enough. But so was the quick realisation that suicide among men under the age of 45 is extremely common, and the way families and friends are left broken and isolated within a very particular, and ‘complicated grief’, is more widespread than anyone might think.

#project84, created by the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) is the first project of any kind that’s really taken a stand on this epidemic, one that’s been largely ignored by society and almost anyone with political influence.  Mental health issues of any kind are rarely taken notice of unless people start shouting about them – because how can we know, or see? But even then, and even still, there’s a certain taboo around the whole thing. I’ve done a lot of reading up and research since Matt died, and this is the first thing I’ve seen that’s actually taken hold, and that people are responding to. But our work doesn’t end here.

I’m writing this post to say, thank you to CALMS and to the courageous people who shared their intimate personal stories with the world for #project84.

I’m also writing this to say, enough is enough. #project84 drew in thousands of responses. This doesn’t mean the work is done. We need to keep talking, keep generating awareness about the FACT that men suffer too.  There’s a crisis among them – of identity, purpose, and value. But also, among us. We expect too much of the same thing, don’t we? It’s like we almost want to be lied to; about what and who we really are; about what truly hurts us, and what potentially pushes us over the edge.

The video I’ve posted below is fascinating to me. Watch it, and see the difference in response from a man harassing a woman, to a woman harassing a man. For me this sums it all up. Male suicide is an issue in its own right. But it’s also linked to a much broader social problem. Did you know there are only a handful of charities for men who suffer abuse in the home? Compared with the hundreds for women? Why is it considered harder for a man to cry than a woman? Why is a woman harassing a man funny?
Some things to think about.

Useful links:

CALM ZONE

#project84

ManKind Initiative: http://www.mankind.org.uk/

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