These men, more often than not, appear to be going about their everyday lives as they always have. Perhaps a little different, but not much it seems. Then we hear the news that we really didn’t see coming. We don’t understand and can see no obvious signs that led to this devastating action:
They have taken their own life.
In 2017, across the UK there were 5,821 completed suicides and 75% of those were men.
What does this tell us? The simple answer is that men don’t talk and whilst there has got to be more to it than that, that is a much bigger discussion for another day.
As a clinical Hypnotherapist and Mental Health trainer I see dozens of men a month and unlike the myth that men don’t talk, these guys do. However, when I’m working in organisations it’s often when I’m packing up to leave that I get men just wanting a quick word, when they feel they won’t be judged by their peers.
We need to change the biggest obstacle that is stopping men seeking help: STIGMA.
I see it at all levels.
I hear mums telling their 4 year old to MAN UP
I see groups of workers tagging people as ‘sick note’ ‘lazy’ or ‘attention seekers’
And I see employers thinking the worst of staff if they have time off due to their mental health and then holding this against their future progress.
Whilst this happens to both men and women, it appears that men often feel more pressure to be strong, hardworking, progressive and capable. Perhaps it’s a hangover from decades of being told to have a ‘stiff upper lip’ or that ‘boys don’t cry’ and ‘we have to be strong’ or ‘we are weak and worthless’.
Men are taking their lives at a rate that is mystifying to most of us, but unless it’s someone in the public eye we don’t hear about this huge societal problem.
From the Couch to the Desert
One thing that I can do is to make people more aware and help men realise that it’s ok to talk and that there are outlets for them to get help and keep their heads together enough to start moving away from the devastating action they may be contemplating.
There is a lot of talk about mental health currently, whether that’s the government saying they will do more, the NHS saying they are struggling with over demand on their mental health services or the Royals doing their best to raise awareness with the Heads Together campaign. However, what we need is action and so, in an attempt to help create more awareness I’ve taken on a challenge this year to trek across the Sahara Desert in aid of this great charity CALM Campaign Against Living Miserably. https://www.thecalmzone.net/
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