Last night I watched a BBC Horizon documentary on male suicide. It had interviews with survivors, relations, charities and emergency services. Most terrifying was the statistic that suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 50, not car accidents or cancer. A few months ago a member of the local triathlon club took his own life. He wasn’t a good friend, as we didn’t see eye to eye on many things, and had had a couple of arguments over dangerous cycling or swearing in cafes. That is beside the point, it shocked me when I found out that he was gone, and it shocked a lot of people in the tri club.
I’ve suffered some very dark days myself, at school and in my early 20’s where I struggled to see the point of everything or anything. Most recently these feeling returned when I was at Uni, less than ten years ago. I didn’t talk to anyone and tried to work things out for myself, but as the documentary mentioned, you’re never really cured.
There are many reasons for suicide, relationship breakdowns or losing your job are the most common, for others it might be the feeling of complete loneliness or that nobody truly cares anymore.
Men, on the whole, don’t talk about their feelings. We all need to talk more. Do you have any friends that you’ve not seen for a while? Send them a text or a message, nothing serious, but let them know that it would be cool to meet up some time. Let friends know that if they needed someone confidential to talk with, you’ll be there for them. As the documentary also illustrated, it might not be the friends you expect to have issues, it might be the most outwardly lively person you know.
I’ve seen a few people copying and pasting a paragraph on Facebook letting people know that their door is always open and the kettle always on. This is a good start, but try to make it a bit more personal, write it in your own words instead of copying it.
We should all reach out to people more, even if you think that they are the last person in the world who would ever take their own life.
Finally, if you’re reading this and feel that you really don’t have anyone to talk to, message me, or even better, call the Samaritans, they do amazing work. I don’t have the answers, but please guys, talk to each other more about how you’re feeling, especially if you’re feeling suicidal.