We may groan and complain about them, often talk about them (not in the best sense) and get beyond frustrated with them. There may be times when, we even loathe them. But at the end of the day, we love them dearly and we wouldn’t do without them. The people I am referring to are the men in our lives.
Last week I read an article that related to male suicide. According to this particular article, suicide is the leading cause of death in Australian men aged 15-44 and it’s more than double the national road toll. In 2017 we lost 3128 people to suicide and of this number three quarters were men. That means that last year alone, 2346 men took their own lives.
Of the eight people committing suicide on a daily basis, six are men. These numbers are staggering yet they are something, which our society is facing. And this is an issue that affects us all. Those men that are taking their own lives is someone’s father, husband, son, brother, friend. Suicide affects everyone and it’s time we stood up and asked the men in our lives if they are ok.
My first reaction to this article when reading the statistics was to automatically assume ‘mental health issues’ were at the core of these numbers. Surprisingly according to Dr Glen Poole, Development Officer at the Australian Men’s Health Forum and founder of the ‘Stop Male Suicide’ project, 80% of male suicides are NOT linked to any mental health diagnosis.
So what’s going on with the men in our lives and how can we help them? According to this article, men are struggling to deal with all different types of crisis that life throws at them- relationship breakdowns, work issues, financial pressures, health factors and so on. They are simply not coping. The pressure is mounting and they are remaining silent.
A campaign which has started called ‘The Silent Killer: Let’s make some noise” has encouraged men to open up and talk to their family and friends. To tell them about what is happening in their lives. To talk freely and openly about everything. A no holes barred approach.
You see for women, it’s seen as ok to admit weakness, to show fear and vulnerability. To say to someone ‘I am just not coping’. We ask for help and support and in times of crisis we get that listening ear, that shoulder to cry on. For a lot of men, often they feel that expressing or showing their feelings is a sign of weakness, of failure. It’s not the ‘manly’ thing to do, to sit down and have a good vent and a good cry. At the end of the day, just to say: ‘I need some help’ is often incredibly difficult for them to admit.
So we need to get men talking and talking fast. According to Gothcha4Life co-founder Gus Worland: ‘you’ve got to have someone in your life that you can talk to, warts and all. Someone you can have a discussion with about anything and know that you won’t be judged’.
If you’re not the person then help the man in your life find someone who is.
Read the full article: News.com.au highlights men’s mental health issues in campaign The Silent Killer: Let’s make some noise by Charis Chang
If you or someone you know needs support with their mental health, please contact one of these support organisations:
• Lifeline 24/7: 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au
• Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au
• MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78 or www.mensline.org.au