All Tablers are proud fathers, sons, grandsons, and even a few grandads, and this Father’s Day we are asking what is the best thing about being a father?
From the ultimate thrill-seeking gift to the handmade cards, Father’s Day is a great day to celebrate everything that is brilliant about being the ultimate hero – a dad!
But what about those sons who feel they cannot go beyond the conversation of a classic pair of novelty socks and talk to their dads about the more important personal issues affecting them day to day?
The National Association of Round Table are now the proud members of the Men & Boys Coalition; a network of organisations, academics, journalists, professionals and leaders committed to highlighting and taking action on the gender-specific issues that affect men and boys. With half of teenage boys saying that they could not talk to their fathers about stress, anxiety or depression because it would be too awkward, we spoke with Dan Bell, a co-founder of the Men and Boys Coalition, on why we need to do more to support men in society to talk about and tackle these issues.
“Here’s a question for you: What’s the hardest thing about being a man?
"I have a hunch that most of you reading this will not only have never asked yourself this question, but might well think it’s a ridiculous thing to ask in the first place – I mean, doesn’t being born a man automatically mean you’ve got the odds stacked in your favour?
“For sure, a quick glance at the world around us certainly gives that impression – men make up the majority of politicians, business owners and sports stars. We’re also most of the protagonists in film and on TV, not to mention the lion’s share of villains in the headlines too.”
And yet according to Office for National Statistics figures, male suicide rate has increased significantly since 2007. In 2013, 78% of suicides in the UK were male, suggesting that, while a higher percentage of women are diagnosed with depression, it is men who feel they do not have the personal capacity or social support to get help.
Dan said: “When it comes to mental health around three times as many men kill themselves as women and suicide is now the leading cause of death for men aged under 45, outstripping even road accidents. Homelessness is another enormous problem for men. Of people who sleep rough, 88% are men.”
To help combat these issues, it is a simple truth that it is time to start talking about the issues affecting men.
Dan said: “The Men and Boys Coalition, a new charity committed to tackling issues that disproportionately affect men and boys, campaigning for solutions and connecting men, we aim to promote a positive and constructive public conversation about men and masculinity. In this respect alone, we couldn’t be prouder to partner with Round Table members, who are doing brilliant grassroots work in hundreds of local communities across Britain and Ireland.”
As an all-male organisation, this Father’s Day, Round Table want you to tell your sons, fathers and grandfathers what is the greatest thing about being a dad and start the conversation to help men speak more openly with their dads. To find out more about the coalition mission and all those involved visit www.menandboyscoalition.org.uk
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