International Men’s Day is an annual celebration of the achievements and contributions of boys and men, and takes place on 19 November each year.
It falls in the same month as Movember, which raises awareness of men’s health issues like prostate cancer and male suicide by asking men to grow moustaches for donations.
But what are the origins of International Men’s Day, how do people celebrate, and what’s this year’s theme?
What are the origins of International Men’s Day?
Despite gender disparity usually favouring men, International Men’s Day (IMD) was not celebrated until over two decades after the UN recognised International Women’s Day, in which was established in 1977.
The first IMD was made official more than 20 years later, on 19 November 1999.
Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, the founder of the celebration, decided upon the date as it was his father’s birthday.
Today, the celebration of men and boys and their diversity is celebrated annually on 19 November across 80 countries, including the UK.
What do we celebrate on International Men’s Day?
The day is built upon the six pillars:
- To promote positive male role models
- To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment
- To focus on men’s health and wellbeing; social, emotional, physical and spiritual
- To highlight discrimination against men
- To improve gender relations and promote gender equality
- To create a safer, better world for men to live in
IMD is a day of recognising the positive contributions of men to society - not only famous celebrities, inventors and other public figures - but fathers, sons, uncles and friends.
It’s also a day to acknowledge the need to destigmatise mental health issues among men, and highlight the ways in which society can do better to support them.
What is this year’s theme?
This year’s overarching theme is ‘better health for men and boys.’
IMD in the UK will promote three key subjects for 2020:
- Making a positive difference to the wellbeing and lives of men and boys
- Promoting a positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity
- Raising awareness and/or funds for charities supporting men and boys’ wellbeing
These themes have been chosen to highlight major issues that impact men and boys’ lives including mental health issues, the attainment gap in education, men’s shorter life expectancy, higher suicide rates among men, and men and boys as victims of domestic abuse and crime.
How can I show my support?
You can donate money to men's charities such as Men’s Shed, Prostate Cancer UK, The Mankind Initiative, Survivors Uk and Movember to help support their work
Although you might have missed the boat for growing your moustache this November, there are still a number of ways you can help, while social distancing.
With Scotland still in the midst of a tiered lockdown, meeting up with friends and family at the moment is tricky. However , the simplest way to support your loved ones is to reach out to them and ask them how their day was, and how they’re feeling.
Talking can go a long way in supporting mental health and wellbeing.
Join the conversation, #ItsOkayToTalk on Twitter and Instagram, and share a logo of IMD or post about your support on Facebook.
There are also a number of organisations who support Movember and IMD, such as universities, police federations and HMRC.
Inspirational quotes from famous Scottish men
Here are 10 of our favourite quotes from famous Scots to motivate you to inspire you on IMD:
“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” - Alexander Graham Bell
“If I have my health I can carry on.” - Sir Alex Ferguson
“Life is supposed to be fun. It's not a job or occupation. We're here only once and we should have a bit of a laugh.” - Billy Connolly
“They say if you resort to violence, then you’ve already lost.” Sean Connery
“I cry a lot because of women. I cry a lot, as a person.” - James McAvoy
“What matters most with any regimen, whether it's to lose weight or stop drinking or smoking, is your willingness to seek help and your desire to say 'no more.” - Euan McGregor
“I’ve dealt with it, I get it and it’s much better. I’d heard of anxiety but I thought, ‘It can’t make you feel that bad.” - Lewis Capaldi
“ I can't remember a time in my life that I haven't battled with all sorts of quandaries, fears and weaknesses.” - Gerard Butler
“It’s not the end of the world to lose.” – Andy Murray
“When things are difficult, you have to be sure of who you are and what you want to achieve.” - Gordon Brown
8 key facts about men and boys in Scotland and the UK
- In Scotland, the number of men who died by suicide in 2018 was 581 - three times that for females.
- Middle aged men (aged 45-54) are at the greatest risk of suicide.
- 12.5% of men in the UK are suffering from one of the common mental health disorders (depression or anxiety)
- In the UK, men are nearly three times more likely than women to be alcohol dependent (8.7% as opposed to women at 3.3%)
- only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men.
- About 95% of Scottish prisoners are male.
- 76% of homeless people in Scotland in the last three months of 2019 were male.
- Men in Scotland are expected to live four years less than women, men live to an average of 77 while women average at 81.