A Student's Guide to Celebrating International Men’s Day in the UK
November 19th is International Men’s Day (IMD), a global awareness day that highlights many of the issues that men face daily. This includes topics such as homelessness, parental alienation, abuse, violence, mental health, and suicide, amongst other things. There is a lot of stress in the life of a student, and some male students might still feel the pressure and the stigma attached to speaking up about stress, anxiety, and mental health issues. Celebrating International Men’s Day in the UK and around the world is about chasing that stigma away and making sure every person knows that they can and should talk about their mental health.
What is International Men’s Day?
It is an annual event that highlights the importance of men and boys addressing challenges that they face in daily life, including conversations about mental health, challenging toxic masculinity, and discussing gender equality. The day was first celebrated in 1999, created by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh in Trinidad and Tobago, and has since spread to be celebrated in over 80 countries worldwide.
Dr. Teelucksingh sees IMD as a reminder that gender equality is a collective effort and that it should benefit all genders. There was a ‘men’s day’ in the 1960s that did not stick, but it is now seen as a celebration of the positive everyday contributions that men make to society, and should never be viewed in ‘opposition to International Women’s Day’.
There is a lot of toxic masculinity in the world, and this day is about positivity, how men can be positive role models in life, how they can become stronger through communication, and friendship, and look after both their physical and mental health in a more proactive and positive way. We will discuss a few things that you can do to celebrate International Men’s Day in the UK this year.
How can you take part in International Men’s Day in the UK this year?
You should always consider that the primary point of celebrating International Men’s Day is to acknowledge and support the well-being of men in various ways.
There are different types of events that can take place on IMD to discuss men’s issues. Host seminars, workshops, or even panel discussions to talk about men’s mental health issues, fatherhood, how a career pathway can develop for young men, physical fitness and wider health, and anything else that you believe are important topics that need to be discussed. This can help start the conversation around topics that might usually be overlooked .
Look into mentorship programmes
There are organisations that promote male mentoring programmes that connect boys and young men with positive male role models within their local community. This could be an interesting way to discover your own power as a man to pass on knowledge and advice to others, or to find a mentor who can support you with your needs and development.
Use social media for positivity
Regardless of what platforms you use on social media, around International Men’s Day, you should look to promote campaigns that are linked to the day. You can post about your own positive male role models and other stories that you are happy to discuss publicly. Share the success of other men, tweet, share, send messages to others in support, and help to create a swell of positive communication.
Show gratitude and support to men in your life
This is the best time to show how grateful you are for the support and love of positive male role models in your life. Send your father a message to tell him that you love him, and send a postcard to a teacher at school or university who has helped shape your life in a positive way. It can even be thanking your best friend for being there when you’ve needed him the most and telling your partner how much you appreciate them. Such acts of gratitude can help the men in your life feel more appreciated and valued.
Go for a casual beer and a chat
whether it’s an alcoholic pint or a 0% drink, why not arrange a catchup with your closest friends, get together on IMD, to be honest and chat about how you are all doing, have a laugh together, and celebrate the male bonds that you have made with your close network.
Celebrate men in your community
Whether it is with your sports team, your place of work, or university, take a vote for “World’s Greatest Man” or “Role Model of the Year”, and ask everyone to take part. You can encourage people to write blog posts and advocate for role models that have had the greatest impact on your local community, showing support to others.
Promote men’s health
Now is the time to speak up. It is generally harder for men and young men in particular to feel comfortable in their vulnerability. International Men’s Day is a time when you can show how important it is to speak up and talk about mental health, and how important it is to prioritise physical health too (in terms of exercise but also checking for male illnesses and disease, such as understanding how to check for signs of testicular cancer). Talking about our health issues, shows other people that they can do the same and removes any shame surrounding it.
Breaking the silence and the stigma of men’s mental health in university is important. This International Men’s Day in the UK is a time when you can celebrate, address important issues that we must all talk about, take part in events, and have a good time whilst doing it. You should never feel alone, and it is more important than ever before to be open and honest about your mental health, as a male student at university or any other profession. Remember, there is plenty of support out there, through your university, the Students’ Union, and a wide variety of mental health charities in the UK.
Are you taking part in International Men’s Day in the UK in 2023? Let us know what you have planned and how you intend to get involved with the action. Some of the hashtags that you should use when sharing International Men’s Day information on social media include: