Save a man’s life on your lunch break
There is a male suicide crisis in the UK. Men account for 75% of UK suicides and 75% of people who end their own life have NOT received professional help with their mental health issues.
We need to encourage people, especially men, to talk about how they are feeling in order to reduce suicides in the UK. By making it OK for men to talk about these issues and normalising these discussions as part of everyday life we can bridge the gap to professional assistance and give more men hope for recovery.
#MenDoLunchDay is one day in the year when you have a reason, a challenge, an excuse to spend time with a man you care about and have a conversation to find out how he really is. Please get involved and you never know – you may save a life at lunchtime on 14th Nov.
What’s it all about?
Last year I organised the first-ever #MenDoLunchDay on 14th November, as part of the ‘Movember’ focus on Men’s Health. I hosted a lunch in Covent Garden & some guys rocked up – one guy even flew over from Northern Ireland just for lunch, which surprised the hell out of me, but was totally brilliant!
I encouraged other people to get involved around the country and the response was fantastic! People took up my challenge to invite a man they cared about to lunch and to start a meaningful conversation about how he was doing. Changing the culture around men talking about their feelings and mental health is key to improving men’s mental strength and also works as a suicide prevention strategy.
13 men take their own life each day *
(*figures from 2018 – Office of National Statistics, UK.)
Suicidal thoughts are common – with 20% of UK population admitting that they have had thoughts of ending their own life. However these thoughts are temporary, they pass & we don’t have to act upon them – crucial information to know. Making it OK to talk about these thoughts allows someone to open up and be honest about how they feel and when you show empathy and understanding you can kill shame, as Brené Brown’s research has shown.
Blokes try to fix themselves. We bottle it up inside – I know I did. I also closed things off in boxes for years, but sometimes there is just too much stuff in your head to keep a lid on.
Talking to someone you trust is the first step to breaking the downward spiral of negative, self-critical thoughts and finding a way forward towards hope for recovery and a different life.
Everyone deserves to be heard.
Creating safety and trust is essential for someone to talk about their innermost fears, anxieties or perceived vulnerabilities. Sharing food with someone away from the normal hustle and bustle of the daily grind shows you care and that you are interested in hearing what they have to say.
How can you get involved?
#MenDoLunchDay is something everyone can get involved in and that includes ladies, too. Many men will open up to a woman they trust when they don’t feel able to talk to their male friends. Last year women played a crucial role in inviting men to lunch and making them feel safe enough to talk about feelings, emotions and mental health.
So, wherever you’re going to be on the 14th November, all you’ve got to do is arrange to have lunch with a man that you care about. It could be your mate, son, husband, father, brother, uncle, colleague, partner, neighbour or someone you haven’t seen for a long time. Our advice is simple:
- Ask him how he is doing – what’s really going on for him?
- Listen carefully & don’t judge what he says
- Share your lunchtime selfies on social media using the #MenDoLunchDay
Let’s begin those vital conversations and help to change lives, improve lives and even save lives. Let’s do lunch!
#MenDoLunchDay goes global
I’ll be in Sheffield for lunch on the 14th November – where will you be? So far people are taking part in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Norway and even Antarctica. Let me know where you are going to be having lunch and who with.
Help us to spread the message far and wide by retweeting, liking and sharing the posts. And don’t forget to use the hashtag #MenDoLunchDay to make it easy for people to follow the conversation. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube.
And lastly – you can also download the social media profile picture (top of this blog) for your own profiles to help raise awareness around the world.
Thank you for saving a life at lunch!
Samaritans – 24/7 helpline if you need help now 116123
CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably – Helpline 0800585858
Movember – Month focused on men’s – parity of physical and mental health
Mental Health First Aid England – half-day, one-day & 2-day courses
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