This initiative will culminate in the UK’s first ‘Pub Pilgrimage’ on Sunday 4 December 2022 taking place in 13 locations across the country. Supporters will embark on a 5,151m walk, each step representing a man who lost their life to suicide in the last year.
More than 5,000 men in the UK and Ireland took their own lives last year, accounting for 74% of all suicides. Despite this, men are half as likely to seek out mental health support, as 14 men take their own lives each day.
This comes after the charity revealed 85% of men do not usually discuss feelings with other male friends in pubs and bars, despite these being selected as their favourite places to meet.
HUMEN founder River Hawkins said: “We all need friendly spaces to talk, listen and connect. Pubs are the cornerstone of communities, but as our research tells us, they are currently wasted on men – who would seemingly prefer to talk about anything other than their personal trials and tribulations.
“We truly believe that this type of gathering place can play an important role in addressing suicide and mental health, if we just harness it for good, rather than the traditional ‘drink and forget’ mentality that plagues male social circles.
“This is what our partnership with Heineken aims to achieve this December. This is the second year of our Rise Against Suicide and we intend to Rise every year for years to come. Talking openly to friends, family & professionals are essential steps to overcome the hidden issues and barriers in our quest to lower the number of suicides and in turn, lower the number of metres we walk next year.”
HUMEN’s research found that on average, men go to the pub twice a week, spending around two hours there each time.
Three in 10 men (29%) will meet their friends at a bar or pub after a stressful day. During these meetups, 63% will discuss sport and 54% share jokes together, but only 15% will discuss each other’s’ feelings.
More than a third (37%) said they did not ‘want to bring the mood down’ and half (48%) admitted to not knowing how to help a friend, even if they did express their feelings openly in such a scenario. What’s more, one in 10 (13%) admitted they would be uncomfortable and dislike these situations if they were to arise.
Time to talk
However, the majority (78%) agreed that men should speak to each other more about personal matters. Although 72% felt they had a good support network of family and friends, 23% felt they couldn’t share their deepest thoughts with them.
What’s more, one in 20 men felt they had no-one to talk to.
Star, Pubs & Bars, Heineken UK manager director Lawson Mountstevens said: “Pubs are an essential part of communities the length and breadth of the UK, offering warm and welcoming environments for men to come together.
“As somewhere men already feel at home, they are the ideal place in which to share their feelings over a beer or non-alcoholic beverage. As a company we champion mental health among our colleagues, licensees and their teams and so we are fully behind this important initiative.”
Participants in the ‘Pub Pilgrimage’ will be encouraged to start with a group walk. Once complete, they will return to their local pub and will be encouraged to donate the cost of a typical round, and support HUMEN’s work via its Mental Health Pub Menu.
Pubs in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester, Brighton, Nottingham, Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool and Southampton are involved in the initiative.