Let’s admit it, fellow men. We’re not exactly great talkers, are we? I mean, we are at football, chatting about the people we like in the bar, and how work gets us down, but when it comes to talking about our feelings, well, we don’t do so well at that, now do we?
In the spirit of International Men’s Health Week, it’s time I broke this convention and showed you all why:
- Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the United Kingdom. 76% of suicides in the UK are not only male, but men under 45. Just let that sink in.
- Men are four times more likely to kill themselves, six times more likely to self-harm themselves, and nine times more likely to let their mental health issues get the better of them.
It’s time this changed. To do this, we have to look at the cause- it’s not just that men get more embarrassed or that men just don’t go to the doctors out of a sense of pride, it’s that we genuinely don’t have a space to talk through how we feel.
What we need, (this part is primarily aimed at women) is listeners. We don’t need to be told what makes a “real man” or what is more masculine or feminine to you. We don’t need to be constantly bombarded with how women feel and then when we want to talk, get silenced with laughter and the repeated use of the term “male privilege”. We need a family courts system where the scales are radically redressed, so that neither the father nor the mother has an advantage because of gender. But far more than that, we need people to Listen.
Do you remember listening? What that’s like? You know, waiting patiently for your turn to speak, quietly taking on board the salient points of speech and responding to them? For men, this is probably the biggest help imaginable for us in regards to helping us when our mental health isn’t so brilliant. We need people to listen and respond and care. Actually care, not just pretend you do and then carry on. When a man suggests some form of suicide, take him seriously. Otherwise, let’s carry on attending more funerals for male suicide victims.
We don’t need to and certainly shouldn’t have to belt up, keep quiet or “man up” anymore. #DontFilterFeelings