International Men’s Day 2023 was commemorated under the theme, “Zero Men’s Suicide”. The commemoration recognized six essentials, one of which is to pay attention to the health and well-being of men — physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. The theme of this year’s celebration received attention from governments and corporate organisations across the world. Lagos State, Nigeria, chose a sub-theme, “Breaking the culture of silence”, to help men break out of the culture of silent suffering and machoism.
Across the globe, suicide is ranked as the 4th cause of death among people between 15-29 year old. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 700,000 people die as a result of suicide, on a yearly basis. 70 percent of suicides around the world happen in low- and middle-income countries. The most common ways of this practice, globally, include the ingestion of pesticides, firearms, and hanging. It was also stated that 2 out of every 3 suicides are committed by men.
The globe is majorly directing its attention on men.
As a result of this, the United Nations chose to focus on men’s suicide this year, and Lagos State treaded the same path. The main causes of this act include business failures, drugs, relationship break-ups, loss of jobs, depression, discrimination and illness. The globe is directing its attention on men majorly because they have more exposure to stress and other social pressures, and because they have a lower tendency to speak out and a higher tendency to keep silent.
For this reason, the Lagos State government was applauded for advocating that men should open up when they are in tough situations. The culture of silence was developed from the untrue belief that real men do not show pain or shed tears, and this has caused many men to die physical and emotional silent deaths. Also, almost all men were taught to believe that they are obligated to take care of everyone and everything except themselves. Hence, it is said that men undergo many self-inflicted pains.
An enlightenment campaign that should be established.
Recently, in Lagos State, there have been recurrent suicides and suicide attempts. To address this situation, the government of the State ensured investment of time and resources in the International Men’s Day 2023, paying particular attention to the mental health of men. The Executive Secretary of Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSVA), Mrs. Titiola Vivour-Adeniyi, stated that there is need for a comprehensive suicide prevention plan to aid the effectiveness of national interventions.
However, men should also be educated on breaking the culture of silence, and ensuring to seek help by opening up. This comprehensive plan involves everyone including families, communities, associations, religious organisations, governments at all levels, and employers or corporate organisations. An enlightenment campaign that should be focused on the major causes of suicide and how to handle suicidal thoughts should be initiated very soon. Families are also urged to stop teaching male children to hide their feelings or show no pain and discomfort.
Men should cease from bottling up negative emotions.
Mrs. Vivour-Adeniyi proposed that every man should be aware of the significance of having about five human confidants when they feel troubled, worried, depressed, stressed, or suicidal. While men are expected to be loving, leading, and caring, they also deserve to be loved and cared for. Men should cease from bottling up negative emotions as it only worsens bad situations. It was also emphasized that it is necessary to show love to men, check on their physical, mental and spiritual well-being, and this should be habitual.