We Need To Talk About Male Suicide
This is important.
With this morning’s news of the tragic passing of ex MTV presenter Sam Sarpong, as well as the airing of Stephen Manderson (aka Professor Green)’s BBC3 documentary 'Suicide and Me', this week you’ll have heard a lot about suicide and in particular, suicide amongst men.
This is an issue we should be talking about more. With suicide currently the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK, and male suicide rates over four times higher than that of women, the "silent epidemic” is one that desperately needs to be addressed.
Stephen lost his father seven years ago, and has since been campaigning to raise awareness of male suicide in the UK. 'Suicide and Me' was a heart-breaking watch as we saw him continue to try and deal with his grief and anger, but it also sparked a necessary conversation – the documentary highlighted the simple truth that we simple aren’t doing enough to encourage conversation around the subject.
“There's this ignorance towards it, which only helps the taboo and creates more stigma around it.” Manderson said, speaking to Newsnight earlier this week.
Young men wrestling with mental health feel as if talking about their struggles makes them less masculine, which in turn can leave them feeling isolated and alone.
Pro Green addressed the pressure to be “the archetypal man”, “feeling that you have be a certain way to be a man”. Peter’s Aunt Debbie later revealed that his father, Peter, had planned to talk to mental health charity Mind the day of his suicide but “instead of turning right, he turned left.”
Of course, there are many awesome organisations doing everything in their power to help those struggling with suicidal thoughts. Mind offers some amazing advice to those affected along with many other mental health and suicide charities such as PAPYRUS, TASC and Samaritans.
The problem, however, is that if we aren’t talking about the issue, those affected won’t either. The simple act of speaking up about mental health could be invaluable, and potentially even life-saving.
If you've been affected by any of these issues, click here to visit the Samaritans website.