Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 50. In Europe 75% of suicide victims between 2014 and 2017 were male.
So, why is there such a huge variation in the rates of suicides between the genders? Researchers have concluded that generally men want to be seen as strong and independent and thus are less likely to seek help when they need it as they fear being considered weak or a failure. As the Samaritan’s research report states “men compare themselves against a ‘gold standard’ which prizes power, control and invincibility.”
We all know that us men don’t like going to the doctors when we aren’t feeling great. I know it takes an awful lot to get me to go to the GP if I’m feeling physically unwell and it normally takes a kick up the bum from my parents to go if I’m mentally not feeling right. It would seem I’m not the only chap who has this issue though. According to this article by Esquire 75% of men who commit suicide have never been diagnosed with a mental health condition.
As men, we also want to be in control of our finances and financially independent. There is a degree of perceived in asking for help for money which I certainly think contributes to the statistics. According to The Debt Support Trust 50% of people in substantial debt have considered suicide.
Of course, suicide is a hugely complex issue and there are lots of different factors that can attribute to a person deciding to take their own life. 100% of suicides are preventable though and as long as we keep working towards destroying the stigma surrounding mental health and suicidal thoughts then hopefully we can prevent some of these unnecessary deaths.
If you have somehow stumbled across this site because you are considering taking your own life then there are a few things you can do to help yourself:
Wait. When we are struggling to cope it can feel as if there is no light at the end of the tunnel and that there is simply no solution to the problems facing us. There are solutions though and as clichéd as it sounds things do get better. Situations, thoughts and feelings do pass. Whatever you may be thinking or feeling now, do not act upon those thoughts and feelings.
Talk to someone. Be that a friend, a family member, a doctor or anyone else have a chat to someone about your problems. It will make you feel tonnes better to get it off of your chest and they may be able to help you find a solution to your problems. If you feel you can’t talk to someone in person then get in touch with The Samaritans who are always there to help anyone struggling or SANEline who are there in the evenings to help those struggling with suicidal thoughts.
There are things we can do to watch out for the people around us.
If one of your friends becomes quite withdrawn from the group and doesn’t want to go out then it would be best to check up on them and make sure they are feeling ok.
Some people who are contemplating suicide also focus a lot of energy into death. They may openly talk about dying, wanting to die or how they would go about it. They may also do things like trying to organise what people are going to do once they are gone or they may write or amend a will. Keep an eye on your friend’s behaviour.
If you are worried about someone be honest with them. Say that you are worried and that you want to help. If they want to let you in be there for them and listen to what they have to say without passing judgement. If you can, maybe try to get them some professional help.
As I said earlier; 100% of deaths by suicide are preventable. Let’s help prevent these tragedies by keeping an eye out for each other, especially our brothers who may not be so keen to admit they aren’t doing too great.
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By Richard Francis