International Men's Day
By Elizabeth Ridley, a public law and human rights lawyer at Irwin Mitchell
International Men’s Day (“IMD”) takes place each year on 19 November 2021. IMD aims is to raise awareness of the issues facing men, recognise and celebrate achievements by men, and to improve gender equality. IMD was originally thought of in 1991 with the first day celebrated in 1992 and coincides with Movember, an initiative to raise awareness of men’s health issues. The theme for International Men’s Day 2021 was Better Health for Men and Boys.
There are many prominent issues that particularly pertain to men. In the UK, one in eight men die from coronary heart disease and one in eight men will develop prostate cancer. Risk factors for coronary heart disease include: high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, air pollution, smoking, overweight/ obesity and diet. Overall, life expectancy in the UK is lower for men at 79-years-old compared to women at 82.9-years-old.
In England, around one in eight men has a common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Only 37 per cent of referrals for NHS talking therapies are for men, yet men are three times more likely than women to die by suicide. There are about 2,000 new cases of testicular cancer in men in the UK each year. Around half of all cases occur in men aged under 35 but testicular cancer rarely occurs before puberty. It is the most common cancer in men aged 15-44 years.
On 18 November 2021, Irwin Mitchell held a panel discussion covering a number of these important issues. The three core themes for International Men’s Day in the UK were:
- Making a positive difference to the wellbeing and lives of men and boys;
- Raising awareness and/or funds for charities supporting men and boys’ wellbeing; and
- Promoting a positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity.
Our panel was hosted by Yogi Amin, a public law and human rights partner from Irwin Mitchell. Panellists included Professor Peter Szlosarek, oncologist; Fulvio Urso-Baiarda, a consultant plastic surgeon and Matt Finch of the charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM).
There was an insightful and varied discussion from the panel about these issues, ending with helpful advice on what each panellist would say to their former self. One panellist advised his younger self to be open and honest. Another advised his younger self maintain involvement in groups, like his book club, that allowed for meaningful communication with other people.
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