Our fathers and sons, our lovers and brothers

This photo made me cry.

It’s #Project84 from the Campaign Against Living Miserably, which aims to reduce the number of men who kill themselves. 84 is the number of men in the UK who kill themselves every week, and there are 84 of these sculptures on the London skyline. It’s stark and beautiful in a horrifying way.

We hear a lot about toxic masculinity these days, and sometimes it’s interpreted as “men are toxic”. They aren’t. But the stereotypes of masculinity – boys don’t cry, men can’t show weakness or talk about their feelings etc – can be toxic to men if it prevents them seeking and getting the help they need.

Women are much more likely to suffer from depression and related mental illnesses, but men are much more likely to kill themselves or die slowly through self-destructive behaviour.

As CALM puts it:

Every two hours a man in the UK takes his own life. Male suicide and mental health is a big issue that can’t be ignored any longer. It’s unacceptable that so many men are dying from suicide on a daily basis, yet so few people are talking about it.

These men are our fathers and our sons, our lovers and our brothers, our friends. For all their sakes we need to do better, to be better.

If you’re worried about somebody, there’s good advice here.

And if you’re worried about yourself, help is here.