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Historic Parliamentary debate on male suicide secured on International Men’s Day

Press Release   •  Nov 12, 2015 12:58 GMT

MPs to mark International Men’s Day with Commons debate

The move follows pressure by CALM to debate male suicide rates

Suicide is the biggest single killer of men aged under 45

A historic Parliamentary debate is to be held next week on Thursday 19th November.

The debate, secured by veteran MP Philip Davies, will see issues that adversely affect men, such as suicide, debated in the House of Commons for the first time on International Men’s Day.

The call for a debate on International Men’s Day comes as the charity CALM publishes a major new poll, which lays bare the scale of the problems affecting men. The poll found that more than four in 10 men (42 per cent) of those surveyed had considered suicide’, with two fifths (41 per cent) never talking to anyone about their problems.

The YouGov survey of more than 2000 men found half (49 per cent) of those who did not seek help “didn’t want people to worry about me”. While a third (32 per cent) felt ashamed, nearly four in 10 (37 per cent), did not want to make a fuss and four in 10 (43 per cent) didn’t want to talk about their feelings.

The debate was granted by the Backbench Business Committee after pressure by top suicide prevention charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), which called for a revolution in attitudes towards how we “view and respond to suicide”, treating it as a major public health issue.

The three hour debate will take place in Westminster Hall, House of Commons, on International Men’s Day (19th November).

CALM’s call for a parliamentary debate was backed by a slew of other major anti-suicide charities, including the Samaritans, Rethink, the National Suicide Prevention Alliance, The Alliance of Suicide Prevention Charities, British Psychological Society and the Suicide Bereavement Support Partnership.

In an open letter they urged Parliament to debate those particular issues affecting men including the high suicide rate.

It said, “Male suicide accounted for 76% of all suicides in the UK in 2014, some 4,623 deaths - the single biggest cause of death of men aged under-45 in this country.

“While a survey, published on Monday, found that 42 per cent of men in the UK had considered taking their own life. Four in 10 of those who contemplated suicide never thought about talking to anyone about it for a variety of reasons including, shame (32 per cent), not wanting to sound weak (25 per cent) and not wanting to worry anyone (49 per cent).

“Members of Parliament can play an important role in raising awareness of this problem, in discussing the solutions and breaking down the stigma that prevents too many men from seeking help.”

Jane Powell, Chief Executive of CALM, commented: “Following the shocking figures revealed in the YouGov poll last week, it is really encouraging that male suicide rates will now be discussed in Parliament on International Men’s Day itself.

“We are keen to see a revolution in how we treat suicide and those who are suicidal. Suicide should not be seen as nothing more than a mental health issue, as this fails to address many of the root causes behind the statistics.”

Ms Powell concluded: “We are grateful to Philip Davies MP and members of the Backbench Business Committee for securing this important debate and CALM looks forward to hearing the contributions that MPs will make in the House of Commons.”  

Notes to editors:

About CALM

The Campaign Against Living Miserably, CALM, is an award winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide in the UK. Founded in 2006 the charity seeks to prevent suicide by providing a service for men who are down or in crisis, and by fomenting cultural change so that any man considering suicide feels able to seek help.

CALM supporters and advocates include the likes of David Baddiel and Professor Green, Dizzee Rascal and Frank Turner, and its offbeat brand and challenging advertising have proven effective in reaching men across the UK. In the past 12 months, CALM has taken over 40,000 callers via its helpline and webchat. CALM’s free, confidential accredited helpline and webchat service are available every day of the week from 5pm to midnight, staffed by professionals, on 0800 585858 (national) 0808 802 5858 (London) and www.thecalmzone.net.

CALM is reg. charity no. 1110621

YouGov interviewed 2,142 UK men aged 18-45 years of age. All YouGov fieldwork was undertaken between 14th - 20th October 2015 and between 15th-16th October 2015. The surveys were carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+) and of all GB adults (aged 16+).

For further information on the campaign, interviews or case studies please contact Grace Henwood or Nikki Guest at W: CALMxLYNX@wcommunications.co.uk // 07813 156 965 // 07828 040 605 or Alistair Thompson at Media Intelligence Partners // Alistair@mippr.co.uk//07970 162 225

Or visit www.biggerissues.co.uk or www.thecalmzone.net

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