A parliamentary debate was held in Westminster Hall today to coincide with International Men’s Day.
It was the first time MPs have marked International Men’s Day with a debate on issues that are more likely to affect men, such as poor educational attainment, involvement with the criminal justice system and suicide.
Male suicide is the biggest single killer of men under the age of 45. In 2014, more than three quarters (76 per cent) of all suicides were men – 4623 deaths.
Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes, President of the British Psychological Society, says:
“I know from my own work with military personnel and veterans that the way in which we view masculinity has an important influence on how people experience their individual distress.
We fully support this day of awareness on International Men’s Day and we are particularly grateful to Philip Davies MP for calling for a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament tomorrow on the real problem of male suicide.
I hope that the day succeeds in bringing these important issues to prominence with professionals and wider society alike.”
The BPS is one of 30 leading charities who wrote to government in advance of the debate to call for ‘four simple changes’ that will make a difference to what are preventable deaths:
Count – We need timely and accurate information to enable agencies to respond better. At the moment it can take up to two years to obtain an estimate of suicide numbers. We have a significant concern these are under-reported.
Contain – According to the World Health Organisation and over 50 research papers, there is a strong element of contagion with regard to suicide. We should treat it so and respond and support those impacted by suicide to prevent further loss of life, consequent illness, family breakup and job loss.
Enforce – All local authorities need to develop and implement a suicide prevention plan. Those that do not should be named and shamed.
Accountability – If national and local suicide prevention plans are to be effective there must be accountability.
These proposals were drawn up by the Campaign Against Living Miserably.