Suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20 and 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. It is also predominantly a male disorder. Of the 5,981 suicides in 2012, an astonishing 4,590 (76%) were men. And yet while Britain has high-profile campaigns on, say, testicular cancer or driving safely, the biggest killer of men under 50 is not getting the attention it deserves. link
Culture is slowly changing. Some men in the media are seeding the ground for men to be able to be more openly emotional in British society, more openly vulnerable. Men hug each other on TV & have ‘bromances’ & more openly close friendships. We hear Grimmy comfortably discussing his male celebrity crushes with Graham Norton on Radio 1’s Breakfast Show. Professor Green is talking about his father’s suicide, crying openly as he does so.
Hopefully, in time, this will impact on the male suicide rate, but, as yet, it is still on the rise.
We must give our boys and men the message that expressing their emotions is not unmanly, and teach them language for expressing emotions. Acknowledge their feelings when they are little rather than shutting down their tears & condoning angry expressions (by our often unspoken acceptance that men and boys are angry & girls cry).
Let them know that they don’t need to be alone in their adult responsibilities: let them know that holding the family together & putting food on the table is a team effort.
Give them roles that are realistic, human roles. Roles for little boys to be hopeful about.
Teach them that they can ask for support and they don’t have to be the ‘rock’ in those times when they can’t be.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in the middle of the 19th century. Not much has changed.”