Hello there, this is Steve Whittle, the founder of Tough To Talk. Today, we're going to talk about something serious, something that's been plaguing our society for decades and yet, somehow, has managed to stay relatively under the radar - male suicide.
Shocking as it might be, male suicide rates in England and Wales have hit a two-decade high1. In fact, men account for around three-quarters of all suicides. That's right, 75% of those who take their own lives are men. And if that doesn't make you sit up and take notice, I don't know what will.
The Silent Struggle
Why is this happening? Well, there are multiple factors at play. Relationship breakdowns, job loss, addiction, lack of close friendships, loneliness - these are just some of the triggers that can push a man towards the edge. Men aged 20 to 49 are now more likely to die from suicide than any other cause of death.
But here's where the real problem lies - men are often hesitant to talk about their mental health. Due to societal expectations and stereotypes, many men feel the need to 'man up' and suppress their feelings. This culture of silence only exacerbates the issue. Remember, every 90 minutes someone dies from suicide in the UK alone - and it's time we all did something about it.
Every Day Should Be Suicide Prevention Day
While World Suicide Prevention Day is a great initiative to raise awareness, let's not forget that suicide prevention needs our attention every day. We need to tackle the root causes of suicide and focus on reducing this most preventable cause of death on the planet.
Recognising The Signs And Offering Help
So, how can we help? Here are a few tips to recognise men who may be considering suicide:
Changes in behaviour: Look out for sudden changes in behaviour, such as increased alcohol or drug use, withdrawal from friends and family, or a loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed.
Mood swings: Extreme mood swings, including bouts of anger, sadness, or despair, can be a sign of suicidal thoughts.
Talking about death: Any talk about death, dying, or suicide should be taken seriously.
If you notice any of these signs, it's crucial to take immediate action. Here's what you can do:
Encourage them to talk: Let them know it's okay to express their feelings and that you're there to listen without judgment.
Urge them to seek professional help: Encourage them to consult a mental health professional. They can provide the necessary support and treatment.
Stay connected: Regularly check in on them. A simple text message or phone call can make a world of difference.
In conclusion, let's break the silence around male suicide. Let's encourage open conversations about mental health. And remember, every day is an opportunity to prevent suicide.
Together, we can make a difference.