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The Silent Crisis of Male Suicide

Northeast based mental health consultancy Our Minds Work Ltd – is a company that delivers mental health training and programmes to organisations across the UK and ManHealth CIC an organisation who provide free peer to peer support groups across the Northeast – have announced a partnership with international Health and Safety training experts Green Cross Global in response to the continuing male suicide crisis.

In 2021 there were 4,700 men who died by suicide, meaning around 13 men’s lives per day are claimed by suicide. The male suicide rate continues to be three times higher for men than it is for women, and it isn’t improving, despite more awareness raised than ever before about mental health and billions of pounds invested into Mental Health First Aid training.

There is a higher rate of suicide in construction than any other UK industry, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics. This is twice as high as other occupations who also reported higher rates of suicide, such as HGV drivers in the transport industry.

Male dominated industries create a perfect storm for suicide. Just the sheer numbers of men in one industry will automatically mean the industry will experience more suicides. In addition to that, workplace triggers and the environment increase stress and poor mental health, whilst the socioeconomic status of many men working in those industries and an ageing workforce bring together higher risk groups for suicide.

Traditional conceptions of masculinity are just one of the many barriers preventing men from seeking help and getting the support they need in these industries.

Though suicide is complex, there are some areas where we can make improvements especially helping workplaces to foster a community that reaches out to men that tackles male specific stigma, builds trust and supportive relationships. This will increase health and help seeking behaviours in a way that men want to be engaged.

Together the three partners aim to help businesses to improve men’s health outcomes and prevent suicide by raising more awareness on the 5 biggest killers of working age men. The ManBassador Programme aims to address this starting in November for Men’s Mental Health Awareness Month and in support of Movember campaigns.


Why Men?

Men shouldn’t suffer in silence. 1 in 5 British men die before they reach 65, due to often preventable health problems that go unvoiced.

Heart disease is the biggest killer of working-age men. According to the British Heart Foundation, men are almost twice as likely as women to die from coronary heart disease.

Prostate cancer is the second biggest killer of working-age men. More than 47,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. When diagnosed at the earlier stage, 100% of men will survive for five years or more compared to just 49% when diagnosed at a later stage.

Lung cancer is the third biggest killer of working-age men. One in 13 UK males will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime, compared to 1 in 15 females. 79% of cases are preventable.

Bowel cancer is the fourth biggest killer of working-age men. One in 15 UK males will be diagnosed with bowel cancer in their lifetime, compared to one in 18 females. Of these, 54% of cases are preventable with the main risk factors including poor diet, obesity, smoking and drinking alcohol.

Suicide is the fifth biggest killer of working-age men. Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 50. One in eight men have a common mental health problem such as depression or anxiety. Unfortunately, this statistic is under reported due to stigma and fear preventing men from seeking support for a mental health problem.

All of this data proves one thing – early intervention and prevention are key.


What is The ManBassador Programme?

The ManBassador Programme gives businesses the ability to empower the men in your workforce.

Men become ambassadors for other men, raising awareness on key health topics and signposting their colleagues to the right resources. Together, they will provide the following:

  • Awareness on the five biggest killers of working-age men via male friendly activities
  • Relatable stories and experiences that tackle stigma and normalise help-seeking behaviour
  • Access to a confidential listening and signposting service
  • Suicide intervention support

Men’s health problems are also important to women, as they can be a primary source of support for their partners, family members, friends and work colleagues. The ManBassador Programme may be aimed at men, but equips everyone with life-saving learning and signposting to resources.

Emily Pearson, founder and managing director of Our Minds Work, has over 20 years’ experience designing and delivering mental health and wellbeing services in the community and workplaces. She has worked with some of the UK’s and World’s best-known organisations, including online global giant Amazon, the NHS, Northumbrian Water Plc and one of the Northeast’s biggest housing associations, Thirteen Group, that provides accommodation for some of the region’s most vulnerable people.


She said:

“We believe in better mental health and wellbeing for everyone, but we noticed a gap and worrying health inequalities that are impacting men. Many workplace initiatives to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing have historically been very generic and often feminised, led and delivered by female employees, HR and wellbeing roles which have actively disengaged many male workers from those initiatives. We have recently seen the massive movement for Menopause support in the workplace, and quite rightly so. Women are so powerful in having a collective voice for improving their lives and the lives of others. Men, unfortunately, don’t respond in the same way.

This is why we need a new way of levelling up men’s health and preventing suicide. The ManBassador Programme, curated by Our Mind’s Work and delivered by ManHealth, has been designed based on research by The Samaritans which provides a set of principles upon which wellbeing initiatives for men should be based, drawn from what men said was important to them to prevent them from reaching crisis.”

By partnering with Green Cross Global we can reach more workplaces to share the insights and messages to help them to improve their male workers health and prevent death from the 5 biggest killers.

Our collaboration with Green Cross Global means we have a trusted partner who shares our values and passion for driving change in the workplace that benefits from individual thriving.


Paul Bannister, Founder of ManHealth said:

We are delighted to be working with Green Cross Global to help drive improvements in men’s health inequalities. We recognised many years ago that there was a crisis in our men’s health and well-being that needed to be addressed urgently. For the past five years we have been banging on doors to raiseawareness of these health inequalities. If we don’t start reaching out to our male employees, we will continue losing too many to disability, illness and premature death. The ManBassador programme is ground breaking. This programme will raise the profile of men’s health in workplaces across the country and will allow our men to feel that organisations really do care about their health and well-being.


Ross Abbott, Learning and Development Manager, Health and Wellbeing at Green Cross Global said:

Emily, Our Mind’s Work, and Paul, ManHealth, share the same values and goals as Green Cross Global. I strongly believe that the lack of understanding surrounding physical and mental health in the male community needs to be addressed. Together, Saving lives is GCG ethos and this partnership to educate at risk groups can literally do that, save lives.

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