Why do we need to focus on men’s needs - isn’t it already a “man’s world”?

Every year in the UK, over 4,500 men kill themselves, with between three and four times as many male suicides as female suicides.  There are many other areas of life where men fare particularly badly:

  • 73% of adults who ‘go missing’ are men and 90% of rough sleepers are men
  • Men are three times more likely than women to become alcohol dependent and 79% of drug-related deaths occur in men
  • Men make up 94% of the prison population
  • Men and boys from all backgrounds have shorter life expectancies than women and girls of the same background
  • Boys from all backgrounds are underperforming girls at every stage of education
  • 82% of fathers want to spend more time with their families and men are more likely to report work-life conflict
Men make up about half the UK population and, given some of the quite startling statistics above, we believe that we should look at the position men find themselves in society and how we can make changes to ensure a fairer world for all.  It may be a man's world, but there are 12 men a day who take their lives in the UK.  Clearly for them, and for the vast numbers of men and boys who are in prison, homeless or simply living shorter lives, the 'man's world' isn't working very well.

Who is behind the Year of the Male?

The Year of the Male is being led by CALM, the campaign against living miserably.  CALM works to prevent male suicide - the biggest killer of men aged under 35 in the UK. We run a men’s helpline – free, anonymous and confidential - every night of the week, and take about 2,500 calls a month, we also offer information and help via our website, www.thecalmzone.net.

Why is CALM doing this?

We could just run our helpline service, make sure we take the calls and find ways of improving service – and we will do that.  But rather than just provide a bandage for when men hit a wall, we need to try and prevent men reaching that stage at all.  We want to find out more about the causes of suicide.  What’s clear from all the research and evidence out there is that it is mainly men who take their lives, and it appears that this is in part cultural and social. 

We are concerned that part of the problem is the pressure a man faces to live up to unrealistic ideals.  By staging a serious, national, popular discussion about the issues, we want to find out whether this is the case, and if so, aim to make it easier for men to express themselves and get help when they need it, and ensure that public services are available to men in a way that considers their needs. 

Who else is supporting The Year of The Male?

A coalition including the CEO of Men's Health Forum, the UK Co-ordinator of International Men's Day and leading psychologists and academics have helped to shape our Charter for Contemporary Man, which sets out the issues we want to examine and ways to join the discussion and make change happen.  You can read more about this group below.

Throughout The Year of The Male we will be calling on the media, advertisers, employers, providers of public services, policymakers and agencies working with men and boys to make a pledge in active support of the Charter.   

What else will be going on?

The Year of the Male campaign site provides partners with a platform to pledge their support and showcase their activities

Malestrom will be a home for the best writing and biggest ideas from a wide range of voices on the issues of the day, from men and health and family to work and the law. 

An Annual State of Nation Audit, published in Spring 2014, will examine the expectations and pressures men experience, and the expectations men and women have of them

The Festival of Man, in Spring 2014, will bring together the finest writers, entertainers, thinkers on gender and media commentators to dissect and discuss masculinity for a public audience

In the Summer of 2014, we will invite men to share their stories and experiences of what it means to be a man in the UK today

On International Men's Day in November 2014, we will set out the case for change in public services, in social and economic terms, and showcase good practice.

Who's who

The members of the coalition backing the Charter for Contemporary Man are:

James Scroggs, Chair, Campaign Against Living Miserably. Founder of HOOPMUSIC, a Management and Label house, and Trustee of both Youthnet and the ICA

John Barry, Chartered Psychologist at UCL Medical School. Research Coordinator at the Institute for Womens Health at UCL. John has been investigating women’s health psychology issues since 2004 and his interest in men's health has grown from the desire to recognise, investigate and understand men's health in relation to serious issues like rape, domestic violence and suicide.

Glen Poole, Director of Helping Men and UK Coordinator of International Men's Day
Director of Helping Men - the UK's leading resource for anyone who is in the business of helping men get help. He is also UK co-ordinator for International Men's Day and author of the book Equality For Men and consults, speaks and writes widely on equality for men and boys.

Damien Ridge, Professor, University of Westminster
Professor of Health Studies at the University of Westminster, and a psychotherapist working in the community. He has published over 50 peer reviewed journal papers and chapters and has currently turned his attention to men’s well-being, specifically looking at the ways in which men are changing, and in particular, the constructive aspects of this change.

Steve Robertson, Professor, Leeds Metropolitan University
Steve’s main research interests are on social theories of masculinity and their application to aspects of health and illness. He is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Men’s Health and, together with Professor Alan White at the Centre for Men's Health at Leeds Met, provides research and consultancy services to public, private and not for profit organisations looking to find more find more effective ways of engaging men, designing better interventions and shape services so that men are more likely to use them.

Martin Seager, Consultant Clinical Psychotherapist and Adult Psychotherapist
Clinician, lecturer, campaigner, broadcaster and activist on mental health issues. Martin studied at Oxford University, Edinburgh University and the Tavistock Clinic and has worked in the NHS for nearly 30 years. He has been campaigning for several years for the British Psychological Society to approve a Male Psychology Section.

George Smart, Group CEO, Theobold Fox
Entrepreneur, marketer and founder of integrated creative agency Theobald Fox, with over 15 years experience in broadcast media, entertainment, tech and mobile industry.

Martin Tod, Chief Executive Men's Health Forum
Men's Health Forum is the voice for the health and wellbeing of men and boys in England and Wales and a centre of excellence for men's health policy and practice. MHF co-ordinate National Men's Health Week and run www.malehealth.co.uk - a unique 'consumer' health website for men