GIBRALTAR crowned the month of November with its own International Men’s Day after running its own Movember and Walnut campaigns to talk about prostate cancer.
Minister for Equality Samantha Sacramento urged men to talk about their mental health issues rather than keep themselves all bottled up.
She said that research showed men and boys often talked less about their mental health issues that women, as this was the only way to sort them out.
International Men’s Day on November 19 is a global event to mark men’s impact on society.
But Gibraltar’s government pointed out it was also a date ‘to bring to the fore the different issues which affect men’.
Not talking about their problems can lead to ‘depression and anxiety’ the government said, and urged men to ‘seek help early on’.
Rather than pipe up about men’s achievements, the Men’s Day event was designed to close the gender gap.
As part of Movember, policemen lined up before to commit themselves to not shaving their moustaches throughout the month.
It helped put across the need for men to get themselves checked regularly to prevent prostate cancer, a disease that kills 12,000 men a year.
Mayor of Gibraltar Christian Santos launched the local Walnut Campaign run by Prostate Cancer Gibraltar on October 31.
It urges men to grow their facial hair before the big shave-off at Casemates on November 26.
Sacramento said she hoped to ‘start conversations about the issues that affect men and boys’ to ‘make the world less gender biased’.
“By talking about these issues, a mutual understanding can be created and possible solutions can be found, but what it is clear to me is that by ignoring these issues, a solution will not be found,” she said.
“I therefore encourage men and boys to talk about any problems they are keeping to themselves and I also encourage other men and women to help by supporting those who seek their help.”
Gibraltar is often affected by old-fashioned Mediterranean patriarchal notions of manhood that lead to sexism, depression and male violence.
The current government has fought hard to push women’s issues with its own mentorship programme, harsher penalties on sexual abuse and the legalisation of abortion.