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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – It’s Killing Us: Why Neglecting #Boys Hurts #Girls Too

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Here we are republishing an important article written in 2016 for PsychologyToday.com by Mark Sherman, a friend of #EqualityforBoysandMen.

Our boys’ problems don’t get the attention our girls’ do, with tragic consequences for both. I’m a member of a multi-partisan coalition working hard to encourage the creation of a White House Council on Boys and Men, to parallel the seven-year-old White House Council for Women and Girls. The founding director of our group is Warren Farrell, who has been deeply concerned about issues involving boys and men for 30 years. The coalition is concerned about five issues: education, jobs, fatherlessness, physical health, and emotional health. We have a weekly conference call, and while I was on the last one I took a call-waiting from a friend, Judith, who told me the very sad news that a mutual friend, Susan, had just lost her 32-year-old son to a drug overdose. Ironically, Judith had lost her own 19-year-old son to #suicide some 12 years before, and it had been Susan who called our home all those years ago to tell of that tragic death. Their sons are two of at least six young men in my small town who have died by #suicide or overdose in the last 20 years. One of the major concerns of the group with whom I work is the fact that #male #suicide is far more common than is #female #suicide. We don’t discuss fatal drug overdoses as much, but there too the data is striking — though not as lopsided: at least twice as many #men die from ODs as #women. Actually, the most recent youth suicide in my town was that of a 15-year-old girl. #Girls do take their own lives too, and, of course, they have fatal ODs. But it is my strong belief that a major reason we have not given suicides and ODs among the young the attention they deserve is because they are more of a male problem than a #female one. Think about it. Could you miss all the news stories about sexual assault on campus? Who doesn’t know the 1-in-5 figure? How often have you heard about gender inequities in salaries? Who doesn’t know the 79 cents to a dollar? But I have found that when I tell people about the 4-to-1 ratio of young males to young #females committing #suicide, the most common response is, “Really? I didn’t know that!”​But suppose the statistics were reversed? Suppose that it was young #women killing themselves at four times the rate young men do. Or dying from drug overdoses at twice the rate. Would that not be front page news every day and a huge concern of feminists?
#Girls suffer from #boys’ problems too. The young woman (girl, really) whose death recently rattled my community was a victim not only of whatever demons drove her to take her life at such a very young age, but possibly of the fact that what happened to her was more of a “male” problem than a #female one. Perhaps we will have a greater chance of preventing such tragedies across the genders if we begin to have as much awareness and concern about “boys’ and men’s” tribulations as we do about those suffered primarily by #girls and #women.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

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

boy beside girl inside room
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
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