42% of British men consider suicide

According to a new report, 2 in 5 men British between the ages of 18 to 45 contemplate suicide:

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm) study found 42% of men aged 18-45 have considered killing themselves and revealed “shocking” facts behind male suicide.

The YouGov research also found 41% of those who had contemplated taking their own life had not discussed the feelings with anyone else.

Men said they did not want friends or family to worry about them or were not wanting to cause a fuss, the study found.

In the UK 12 men take their own lives each day – making it the biggest cause of death amongst those aged under 45.

Twelve men kill themselves per day. That is a stunning number, one that speaks volumes about men’s life experiences.

People generally do not kill themselves because things go their way. They typically take their lives when they are at their lowest, either because they cannot or feel they cannot improve their situation.

As a society, we do little to reach out to men. We send them mixed messages about sharing their feelings. On one hand we want them to open up and reveal their inner emotions, but on the other hand we slap them down for sharing the “wrong” feelings.

We stripped away much of the pride that comes with manhood, so much so that we see weekly articles from men ranting about how men are terrible people. We attack masculinity itself, taking every potential positive aspect of it and twisting it into some bizarre, pseudo-threat against women. Even the necessity of males in general is questioned.

It is unlikely that the above political grandstanding is what causes men to take their own lives, however, it does not help. All the negativity leads to a general disinterest in men’s problems, or more precisely the perception that men do not have problems.

Yet the numbers do not lie: 4,623 men killed themselves in 2014. That accounted for 76% of all suicides. When men commit suicide to such an extent that it becomes one of the leading causes of death, there is a very real problem. As CALM found:

The poll of 2000 men, commissioned by mental health charity CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) also found that over half of those who had felt suicidal had not spoken to anyone else about their problems.

A third of those who had considered killing themselves said they had been driven to despair by money problems. Other common reasons included divorce, bullying, and the death of a close relative or friend.

These are all typical, normal problems. Yet because of our social attitudes toward men, specifically that men can handle their own problems and that they benefit from “male privilege,” when men need help they have no one to go to. We taught them not to burden others with their problems and we also removed any of the tools men could use to solve them on their own.

When they reach a point where they do not know what to do, where will they turn? What options are left to them? Some may struggle on. Some may turn to drugs or some other destructive behavior. And some will decide that the best decision is to end their lives. How can we think any of those are acceptable solutions?

It is fantastic to see an organization like CALM actually reaching out to men. As someone who has known three people who committed suicide, I find it inexcusable how we ignore this problem. Many people consider killing themselves. There is no reason not to talk them out it. There is no reason not to reach out to them. Maybe we cannot stop every suicide attempt, however, we can at least an effort.

Sometimes all someone needs is to know they will be missed. Sometimes all they need is for someone to say they understand. We can easily provide that, so why do we not?

2 thoughts on “42% of British men consider suicide

  1. “On one hand we want them to open up and reveal their inner emotions, but on the other hand we slap them down for sharing the “wrong” feelings.”

    Ah, you’ve met my mother, have you?

  2. Funny how people say “men need to be free to express their emotions and be vulnerable” and then mockingly say “oh it’s SO hard being a man these days” or other such ignorance. If that’s the attitude to be faced when such emotions or concerns are expressed, what’s the point of “emoting” then?

    But frivolity aside, a friend of mine topped himself and I have no idea why he did it. What I’d say to anyone in the same situation that it happened and they had no idea beforehand, is regard it as if they simply got ill or had an accident, because such emotional problems are, in a way, an illness if they cancel out your self preservation instincts so fully, and essentially it is an accident because they’re not themselves. But obviously, we all would do anything and everything for that person if they were at that point to help them back from the brink.

    The bottom line is; show your loved ones that they are just that. Loved.

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