Every year about 510,000 men, men/or women die from suicide globally, which translates to one every minute…as it’s hidden in the shadows and shrouded in the stigma of being a male.
It’s impossible to talk about suicide without talking about poor mental health, with approximately 90% of people who die by suicide experiencing a mental health problem.
Mental health problems affects adults of all ages. Research tells us that women suffer higher rates of anxiety and depression. However, health outcomes when it comes to mental health weigh heavily against men because most men don’t handle mental health illness too well.
Women in general are more likely to talk about what’s going on and seek help for mental health problems, whereas men are good at bottling things up, soldiering on and toughing it out – even if they are in a pretty bad place. This is a major problem and the most significant health issues men face, as not taking action can lead them down a very dark path, with devastating results.
Tackling talking can be complicated for them, sensitive area and one that needs a multi-tiered approach. However, helping men stay mentally healthy is an important component and that’s getting men to talk about the ‘big’ stuff will result in an improvement in mental health and a reduction in their destructive behaviors.
Men are pretty good at talking about sport, work, the latest gadget, or the latest film but as men need to get better at talking about the significant stuff going on in men lives – things like losing a job, the breakdown of a relationship, a significant setback, or becoming a father for the first time. These things happen regularly and, for some, have the potential to derail men or just be more challenging than perhaps they imagined. A conversation at these times can help men to remain on top of things.
It isn’t easy to just talk, many men were raised in a world where men are basically supposed to be in control, always strong, never weak, and always winning. It’s just easier to say, “I’m good” when in reality you’re casually asked “How’s it going?”
Even though most men don’t want to burden their male friends with their struggles. It’s naive to think that a conversation will save every life but conversations do help men stay mentally healthy and we know there’s a close association with suicide and poor mental health. So it’s time to break the silence and recognize that the key to overcoming even the biggest problems is to start talking.
We all have an individual responsibility to try and ensure we look out for the men in our lives and ensure they know its good and welcomed to talk and that no one will think any less of them.