So, the background to Bigboysdocry – is what has been called the silent epidemic — men’s suicide. I am sure that I don’t have to remind you of the statistics, but I am going to do so anyway. Just so that we are clear on the size of the problem
Men are 3 x more likely to take their own life than women. Middle aged men account for 55% of all suicides in the country
In fact it is the biggest killer of the 45 -55 age group,…. More middle aged men die from suicide than from Cancer or heart disease or traffic accident.
Every 2 hours, of every single day, every single year, –another man will lose his battle to fight his demons. The fact is… that we all know this
…and indeed, we all know the reasons . Firstly – Men do not talk about their problems like women. They often don’t have the safety valve of expressing their feelings and being or feeling understood. And Secondly, there is the inbuilt macho male ego that is instrumental in them showing a brave face when perhaps their life is falling apart.
To some extent we are all to blame for this… who hasn’t picked up a crying child and told him to ‘be brave’ Be a Man’ Big boys Don’t cry’ what we are doing is cementing the idea that they should not show emotion when things are bad.
Of course this goes back through the ages, even from the first hunter gatherers it has been the man who has been seen as the provider and the protector. I accept that it’s a changing world and that this is not necessarily the case now — but to some extent that deepens the sense of failure a man will feel if he is unable to, in his mind, cut the mustard as a man.
It will not surprise you that Samaritans and other help lines get more genuine suicidal calls from Women than from men. It is also true that calls from women, on average, last much, much longer – and this provides a conclusion rightly or wrongly that women find it easier to talk about things that are distressing them and that many men are uncomfortable in sharing their feelings and perhaps showing their vulnerability.
So, what are the reasons that make middle -aged men more likely to consider suicide as the only option…? It can be a myriad of reasons and often a build up of a number of life events. Something that Samaritans call ‘the big build’
We should not dismiss the well worn phrase of midlife crisis, I am not a doctor so cannot comment on the validity of the phrase but it is clear that there comes a time when men will look back on their life and wonder just what they have achieved, this can often be a time for regret over lost opportunities and bad decisions…. And a realisation that life is passing them by and they have accomplished nothing.
Many men can cope if this is the only reason for feeling insecure but if we add in other factors, perhaps a broken relationship, loss of job, financial problems, homelessness, alcolism or drug dependency, mental problems and depression, trouble with the law… then the whole scenario takes on a completely different perspective. A dangerous and life threatening perspective. One in which the man can only see one alternative.
And that is the obstacle we must overcome.
Because there is no doubt that help is readily available for anyone that feels suicidal.
Whether that’s Samaritans, Calm – the campaign against feeling miserable, Feel the Pressure campaign, The NHS, local GPs, MIND or just friends and relatives — the help is out there, but that’s not the problem.
The problem is – that we need to break down the barriers that prevent suicidal men from seeking help. We can advertise the availability of the various help lines until we are blue in the face but if suicidal or distressed men can’t bring themselves to make contact then how can we possibly help them?
And that’s what Bigboysdocry is all about. That’s why it is completely different to any other initiative and why we think it is more effective. We aim to encourage men to actually talk about their worries with their friends. their family, their work colleagues, in fact anyone… before a worry becomes dispair and dispair becomes suicide. More about this later so you will have to come back!