Geeks Vs Loneliness: International Men’s Day and reaching out for support

Hannah Dunleavy of Standard Issue tells us of an event for International Men's Day - and why it matters.

For this week’s Geeks Vs Loneliness, we’ve invited Hannah Dunleavy, of the brilliant Standard Issue, to chat about somethibng thye’re up to for International Men’s Day…

When Standard Issue was founded in September 2014, it came from a place of concern about gender inequality and about how so much of the mainstream media panders to such a narrow definition of women, which is not just detrimental but dangerous to women.

But we’re aware that, in order to think about women in a different way, it’s essential we start to think about men in a different way too. With suicide persistently the biggest killer of men under the age of 50, gender inequality is quite literally killing young men. Recent statistics released by the Samaritans showed female suicides were at their highest rate in a decade, with male suicide rates three times higher in the UK and five times higher in the Republic of Ireland.

Research suggests that, while reasons for suicide in men are complex, a so-called ‘gold standard’ of masculinity, which values power, control and invincibility, played a massive part. Men are more likely to respond to stress by taking risks such as misuse of alcohol or drugs, and were less likely to reach out for emotional support until they reached crisis point.

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We believe it’s time we talked about this. Not us, but everyone. All of us at Standard Issue have lost men we loved because they haven’t felt able to ask for help, including Jen whose eldest brother Stephen took his own life 13 years ago, aged just 25.

It’s a conversation we’re proud to be part of. Sunday is International Men’s Day and we think that day should serve some purpose other than pitting men and women against each other. So, we’ve invited a panel of men to the stage at the Shaw Theatre on Sunday to raise awareness for and hopefully some much needed cash for male suicide prevention charity, CALM. If the last few weeks have taught us anything, it’s that now is a time for talking.

Sarah Millican and Hannah Dunleavy are joined by Sanjeev Bhaskar, Elis James, Richard Osman and Tom Allen for In Conversation With Standard Issue at The Shaw Theatre in London on Sunday 19 November. Tickets cost £16.50 and are available from Ticketmaster.

And if you can’t get there:

Sarah also runs #joinin on Twitter so people don’t have to be lonely at Christmas. All are welcome so please #joinin.

You can listen to the Standard Issue podcast on Acast or iTunes, or find out more at

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