The Book of Man, the media brand launched last year by former ShortList editor Martin Robinson to celebrate "new masculinity", is kicking off an extensive series of events and campaigns aimed at supporting good mental health in men.
It is partnering brands including Harry’s (recently acquired by Wilkinson Sword owner Edgewell Personal Care), which will sponsor The Book of Man's New Masculinity Podcast. Other partners this year include Wellman, Estée Lauder, Coty, Freedom Brewery and men’s mental-health charity Campaign Against Living Miserably.
The initiative follows research conducted for The Book of Man by GlobalWebIndex to mark Mental Health Awareness Week that found 61% of men in the UK aged 25 to 44 have felt lonely in the past year, while 31% of men in this age group have experienced suicidal feelings at some point. Of those who said they had felt lonely, 41% would consider attending events aimed at tackling loneliness and isolation.
Activities planned by The Book of Man this year include a six-month series of one-day workshops on improving men’s mental health in cities including London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Nottingham and Hull. The first of these takes place this Sunday at Islington Metal Works in London and is sponsored by Freedom.
The brand will also specifically engage with the ad industry, starting with an event held tonight (14 May) in conjunction with Nabs, where speakers will include MediaCom UK chief executive Josh Krichefski.
Other projects, with details to be confirmed, will include a programming strand at Glastonbury; "Inside man: true health", a physical health campaign; "Looking for men", a photography project of real men; "Sonic solace experiments", an interactive music experience; and "Call of the wild", a campaign to encourage men to get back to nature.
Robinson said: "We know one of the biggest areas affecting men today is the feeling of loneliness and inadequacy. Social media has helped with projecting outward emotion, but stifled two-way conversation and created a void of social real-world interaction.
"Research shows 56% of men in the UK are suffering from mental illness, with 84 men per week taking their own lives. Seventy-five per cent of suicides every year are men and the big factor is that men aren’t talking. We’re going to change that."
Discussing the role of The Book of Man’s brand partners, chief revenue officer Mark Sandford said: "It’s clear that UK men need a community and we are determined to build that and provide it for them. Our commercial partners share this aim – they are brands that want to do more for men than just sell products; brands that come from an authentic place.
"We have partnered with Estée Lauder and Professor Green to show that body-image anxiety is something we should all be conscious of; Freedom beer, who promote ethical values for a new conscious man; Harry’s, who continue to invest in good causes and research to help men – to name a few."