Sexual & General Health

Mental Health

Suicide: Why do men suffer in SILENCE?

With the male suicide rate now up to four times higher than that of women, it's time for us men to stop clamming up in a crisis..... Suicide can be seen as an extreme consequence of the male tendency to close up during a crisis, the unwillingness to talk, show emotion or seek help (only half the men who kill themselves will have seen a doctor about their feelings or thoughts). With the pressures of life becoming more and more stressful the anticipated number of male suicides could reach unprecedented levels.

How to get your man to talk (Whether that be friend, family member or partner)

  • First, respect his way of coping and allow him to react differently. The classic pattern to avoid is when a partner, friend or family member demands to know what he is feeling, causing him to withdraw further.
  • Encourage the outlets he has for coping with stress even if they don't involve expressing emotion. This could be sport, work, seeing his friends.
  • Don't make the classic mistake of sitting him down and expecting him to tell all. Men instinctively prefer privacy and often talk better while doing something, going for a walk, painting the bathroom.
  • Give invitations to talk but never pressure. It's important that he feels supported. So try, 'I know it's a difficult time. I'm here if you need to talk about it. I care about how you're feeling and how you are....'

Signs that you should look for external help for him which may include a loss of interest in things he would normally care about, phrases such as 'nothing matters' and 'I'd be better off dead', a change in weight, appearance and sleeping habits and acting in a risky, self-destructive manner.

Remember that whatever you're going through you can contact the Samaritans free at any time from any phone on 116 123. You don't have to be suicidal to call.

Mark Castle-Woodhams, October 2008