Helping our men

19 November was #internationalmensday – as part of the #moveformovember @movember I’ve made a commitment to raise awareness on mental health conditions in mens. The ratio of men to women dying of suicide is disproportionate (3to1 in the UK), 1 man dies of suicide every minute every day in the world and for every death there has been at least 20 attempts by different people.

The more we talk about it and share our own experiences, the more likely someone who needs help will read and seek it instead of going through with their intention. It’s hard to know what to say or what might help.

The message I’d like to share today is a bit of a delicate somewhat potentially controversial one: whilst men need to empower each other by allowing themselves to be vulnerable, developing the sense of acceptance, it is also our role as women to enable them to do so. A lot of women, and I think myself included, carry a certain level of hatred towards men. Could be intergenerational trauma, caused by centuries of repression and violence towards the women in our lineage. But we must heal from this and break the cycle. Of course women are their own makers and saviours and the tale of Prince Charming has fed us with false hopes that a knight in shining armour will “save” us when in fact we need to save ourselves, to create the setting of our own fairy tale and maybe he’ll show up but if not that’s ok. However I’ve learnt from successful women that behind them is an encouraging man, a believer, a supporter: could be a partner, father, son, friend. And maybe the masculine and feminine energies don’t need to be reduced to a gender at this point.

But I wanted to honour the men, the ones who deal daily with harsh realities or creations of their own minds that cause them to suffer. Men may carry intergenerational trauma as well, from their ancestors who fought wars and came back with PTSD with no tools to deal with it. Some carry the societal pressure of being fully responsible of their family’s security in times when most things we took for granted are uncertain.

To those men I say, don’t carry the burden alone, and you don’t need to have everything figured out. Let go of wanting to know the outcome. And to those who simply feel that they are no longer “needed”, the world needs both yin and yang. Now to the men and women out there, it’s time to break the cycles and define new gender roles for the generations to come.

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