Launched in 1999, and now celebrated in more than 90 countries worldwide every 19th November, International Men’s Day celebrates positive male role models and the loving strength that men bring to their families and communities.
The event also highlights the need to address the male suicide crisis and regularly campaigns for improvement in men’s health. The theme for this year’s International Men’s Day – which took place this weekend on Saturday – was “Helping Men and Boys.”
Tommy Hatto is a Swindon-based award-winning wellbeing coach, motivational speaker and founder of Tommy Hatto Online – a wellbeing coaching and consultancy company.
He insists that the significance of International Men’s Day should not be overlooked.
He said, “You may think that the concept of International Men’s Day is trivial. However, International Men’s Day is necessary. It’s just as an important date in the diary as International Women’s Day, but for different reasons. Men’s wellbeing and mental health struggles are at a high, with men three times more likely to die by suicide than women, with 90% of these cases attributed to poor mental health.
“Historically, men have felt pressured to stay silent on their feelings – that we must be brave for the sake of our work or our families and carry on. However, being isolated with our thoughts is detrimental as it can send you down a black hole of dark, worrying thoughts.”
Tommy took the decision last year to talk about his own insecurities as a man having struggled with body image issues growing up, which ultimately led to him suffering from an eating disorder as a teenager.
He explained, “From sharing my story, I received many messages from men around the world letting me know that they had felt the same about their own looks, and they had suffered from eating disorders too. As an issue I’ve always associated with being ‘feminine’, I quickly realised that this isn’t the case – this is a human being issue, and I want to eradicate the stigma that comes along with men thinking about their physical appearance.”
Speaking recently at the Wiltshire Techies Awards, Tommy stressed the importance of looking after the well-being and mental health of men, especially in those male-dominated industries such as technology.
“It was surprising,” he continued, “but also very reassuring on the number of men I had conversations with after, telling me that they were going to prioritise their mental well-being going forward after hearing me talk.
“Sometimes, all it takes is for someone to normalise the conversation and give permission for others to open up about their own struggles. If you feel comfortable enough too – why don’t you try opening the conversation up in your workplace? I’ll bet you’ll be surprised by the number of men who are going through similar things. A small tip I give to employees is to start journaling. Spending a few minutes writing down your thoughts at the start of the day, whether that be on paper or in a private safe area on your computer, is a good way to start getting those emotions off your chest, if you aren’t ready to talk to anyone just yet.”
Tommy added that there are also several organisations in the local area dedicated to providing men with support and providing protected environments where men can just ‘talk.’
For more information on International Men’s Day and how you or your business can participate moving forwards clickhere.