This week, HuffPost UK launched a new campaign to raise awareness of male suicide in the UK. #BoysDoCry encourages men to confront and acknowledge their own emotions and speak out about bottled up thoughts and feelings.
Using a host of famous faces, from political heavyweights to Rizzle Kicks and body coach Joe Wicks, the campaign addresses the tough topic with humour and honesty. HuffPost also welcomed Andy Murray as a guest editor for its accompanying editorial series. What better ambassador could it have than the man who cried in front of a global audience after losing his first final to Roger Federer at Wimbledon?
HuffPost has beefed up the campaign with research from 2014 that shows male suicide accounted for 76% of all suicides. It’s the biggest killer of men under the age of 45. Men are almost four times more likely than women to take their own life, but the medical community can’t conclusively say why that is.
The subject of male emotions is notoriously difficult to discuss. Last year, Stripe worked on a joint campaign with Cello’s Talking Taboos Foundation and YoungMinds called ‘Mates Matter’. It aimed to encourage young people – particularly teenage boys – to paying attention to what their friends say on social media channels to spot signs of mental health problems.
When I read the transcripts of focus groups and saw the research findings on self-harm and suicide, it painted a bleak picture of a nation that’s uncomfortable speaking about their problems. For example, when we researched attitudes to self-harm 71% of young people, 70% of parents and 60% of teachers said they wouldn’t feel able to talk about it.
Male emotions are practically a taboo. #BoysDoCry and #matesmatter are the male equivalents of the iconic Always #LikeAGirl campaign – they stand up to gender stereotypes and reject the social pressures they create. #LikeAGirl spawned 177,000 tweets from around the world in the first three months, including a huge number of tweets from celebrities. Only time will tell how #BoysDoCry will fare.
Regardless, if you haven’t seen the HuffPost video, it’s worth checking it out. And, in case you’re wondering, the last time I cried was when my partner moved to Asia for four months. That’s fair enough, right?