Boys Don’t Cry: The Facts About Suicide and Men’s Health

Movember (the month of November dedicated to Men’s Health) offers the opportunity to discuss mental and health issues facing men. In the world of COVID-19, daily life as we’ve known it has been turned upside down. Knowing who to talk to or where to go for help has not been easily accessible due to restrictions.  As the world faces more uncertainty suicide among men becomes an even greater concern. Suicide is one of the biggest killers of men – but this is a hidden fact that most of us do not know. Need2Know Books explores the issues that cause men to take their own lives and offers practical guidance and help so men can live a long and fulfilling life.

Need2Know Books offers a selection of Essential Guides for men that help with issues of alcohol, stress, diabetes, Prostate and Testicular Cancer. These are all issues that can severely impact the longevity of Men’s Health and are silent killers. Stress the Essential Guide and The Essential Guide to Alcoholism are written in easy to read language without jargon and offer useful information for anyone struggling with these issues.

Being a man in today’s world comes with a few health warnings. The World Health Forum reports that In the UK one man in five dies before the age of 65. On average men die 3.7 years earlier than women. This is not just a British problem it is a worldwide one and tragically suicide is not as rare as one might think. In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO), estimated 793,000 suicide deaths worldwide. Most were men. Suicide is the biggest killer of men and surpasses women with the peak age group for men’s death between 45 -49.

It’s the same in many other countries. Compared to women, men are three times more likely to die by suicide in Australia, 3.5 times more likely in the US and more than four times more likely in Russia and Argentina. Psychologist Jill Harkavy-Friedman says: “The trend goes back a long way. As long as we’ve been recording it, we’ve seen this disparity.”

Although women around the world are more likely to suffer from mental health issues such as depression, and attempt to take their own lives, male suicide methods are often more violent giving them a greater chance to be completed before anyone can intervene.

According to a review by the Samaritans in 2012, there are some key factors that can increase the risk of suicide including:

  • Being male – men are more likely to respond to stress by taking risks like misusing alcohol.
  • Relationship breakdowns – marriage breakdown is more likely to lead men to suicide.
  • Mid-life – people in mid-life are experiencing greater unhappiness than younger and older people. 
  • Emotional illiteracy – men are less likely to have a positive view of talking therapies.
  • Socio-economic factors – unemployed people are 2-3 times more likely to die by suicide than those in work and suicide increases during economic recession.

Many men suffer from expected social norms that have been ingrained from childhood which can cause difficulty in adulthood. Colman O’Driscoll former executive director of operations and development from the Australian Charity Lifeline says: “We tell boys that ‘boys don’t cry’,”

“We condition boys from a very young age to not express emotion, because to express emotion is to be ‘weak’.”

Suicide can manifest itself in every walk of life and it knows no boundaries between someone who is rich or poor. As the constant isolation caused by Covid-19 continues; the increase of unemployment; and failure of businesses worldwide; the stresses of life are becoming more overwhelming. It is important that men are aware that help is at hand.

Taking a look at one’s lifestyle, changing eating habits and creating general well-being through exercise can help to mitigate feelings of frustration that many men will be feeling during these chaotic times. Need2Know’s Men’s Fitness in 15 minutes is a good starting point to introduce exercise into a daily routine.

Many people will know a loved one who is currently struggling so it is important to guide them towards a direction of help. In the first instance speak to a GP or health professional if worrying signs are shown. Organisations in the UK such as Men’s Health Forum and Movember are dedicated to offering services and information to help men find the help they need.

Visit: www.need2knowbooks.co.uk for further information about any of the books mentioned. For press enquiries email: shelleyn2k@gmail.com

One Reply to “Boys Don’t Cry: The Facts About Suicide and Men’s Health”

  1. An excellent and timely article, thank you. This pandemic and its negative impact on the mental health of the whole world is very real. As a solution focused therapist, I’ve seen an increase in clients experiencing stress and anxiety and yet my client base remains mostly female. As this article points out, men are less likely to engage in talking therapies, it’s a real problem that needs to be addressed. Hopefully, posts like this and of course Movember will raise awareness and get the message across to men, “talking to someone is a strength, not a weakness – it’s ok to need help.”

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