Experts say #men are at greater risk of #suicide today because they still struggle to talk about their #mentalhealthissues.
In Canada, #suicide is the leading cause of death for #men under the age of 44. In the UK, #men account for three-quarters of #suicides. When Hong Kong experienced economic turmoil in the 1990s, the #suicide rate of #men aged 30 to 59 almost doubled. After 2007, as recessions took over Europe, #male #suicide rates also spiked. #Men, according to doctors, are probably at greater risk of #suicide because they still struggle to talk about their #mentalhealth. Keeping silent often means #men are unable to deal with their issues and are much more likely to commit #suicide because their worries overwhelm them.In the UK, one in three #men feel they cannot talk to their friends about their #mentalhealth, according to Gerard Barnes, CEO of Smart TMS. (TMS stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation, a new treatment that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate the brain and relieve symptoms of #mentalhealth conditions.)
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
A Smart TMS survey in 2017 found that 39 per cent of UK #men feel less confident than they once did, one in three #men feel more social #anxiety than they used to feel, and 27 per cent of #men regularly cancel plans to avoid interaction with others.
The UK’s #mentalhealth epidemic, Barnes says, has been widely publicised, with many prominent figures speaking out about their experiences with #mentalhealthissues. “However, while many of the same difficulties are experienced by both #men and #women, some difficulties and influences on #mentalhealth born of societal expectations may be especially detrimental to men,” he says.
Why, though? For men, societal expectations about how they “should” behave and what masculinity is, reinforce the idea that men should be the breadwinners of their family, while exhibiting strength, dominance and a “just get on with it” attitude, Barnes says.
Minal Mahtani, founder of OCD and #Anxiety Support Hong Kong, a registered #mentalhealth charity in Hong Kong, agrees that “men are less likely to talk because of how they feel they are going to perceived”.Gay and bisexual men are more vulnerable to #mentalhealth disorders than heterosexual men, she adds. She also agrees that risk factors for poor #mentalhealth in #men include feeling overwhelming responsibility for family, difficulty with work or finances, a relationship breakdown, or significant trauma or setbacks.
“Many #men believe they have to tough it out and struggle alone,” Mahtani says.
“Culturally, it is believed that #men must not show their emotions as it is a sign of weakness. In Asia, #mentalillness is sometimes viewed as a choice and denied as a real condition, making it harder for #men to seek help for this real medical condition.”
You only have to think how reluctant #men are to seek directions when lost to realise the challenges posed when seeking help for bigger issues, such as in relation to physical or #mentalhealth
Rob Stephen, former chairman of Irish #mentalhealth charity GROW similarly articulates concern for #mentalhealth among #men – Ireland has one of the highest rates of #male #suicide in the world. Every week, an average of 10 Irish people die by #suicide, eight of them men.
“There’s a saying we use in GROW in relation to #mentalhealth,” Stephen says. “‘You alone can do it, but you cannot do it alone.’ The first bit means it is our own responsibility to look after our #mentalhealth; the second phrase reminds us that we will often also need help. You only have to think how reluctant #men are to seek directions when lost to realise the challenges posed when seeking help for bigger issues, such as in relation to physical or #mentalhealth.”
What’s more, he adds, many men probably devote more time to looking after their car’s health than their own.
“There is widespread acknowledgement of the idea that #men talk ‘shoulder to shoulder’ rather than face-to-face – whether that is running or cycling side by side, sitting in the car or working at a bench – and maybe that’s the key to getting #men to open up to each other?” Stephen suggests.
Because #men generally do not reach out for help, they only make their #mentalhealthissues worse.
He refers to the global Men’s Shed movement, which describes itself as community spaces for #men to connect, converse and create. The activities are often similar to those men do in garden sheds, but for groups of #men to enjoy together. They help reduce loneliness and isolation, but most importantly, they’re fun, safe spaces then where confidences can develop and be shared organically, he adds. People often feel better able to confide, divulge, offload when walking side by side with a friend or family member, as face-to-face can be intimidating.
As Barnes observes: “Given that one in three #men find themselves more anxious in social situations and 27 per cent of #men regularly cancel plans to avoid interaction, it is now more important than ever to ensure that #men are made to feel comfortable and able to speak without pressure or judgment, because it is clear that many are simply struggling in silence.”
Minal Mahtani’s #mentalhealth tips for a happier life
1. Do more of the things that make you feel good and help you to destress, such as playing sports, hiking or being around nature.
2. Spend time with friends, to release happy chemicals in the brain such as oxytocin, making you feel valued and connected.
3. Share what’s going on, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Everyone struggles, and you are not alone. To struggle is human.
4. Incorporate mindfulness, meditation and yoga into your life to help you relax.
5. Find a support group for #mentalhealth sufferers. This will make you feel supported and not alone.