“ …It’s one of the deadliest diseases on the planet, often still shrouded in a sense of shame. And for men under 35, suicide following depression is now the leading cause of death. Novelist Matt Haig recounts his own experience of suicidal thoughts and the long path to recovery… “
“… I am not anti pill. I am pro anything that works and I know pills do work for a lot of people. There may well come a time where I take pills again. For now, I do what I know keeps me just about level. Exercise definitely helps me, as does yoga and absorbing myself in something or someone I love, so I keep doing these things. I suppose, in the absence of universal certainties, we are our own best laboratory. If you are a man or a woman with mental health problems, you are part of a very large and growing group. Many of the greatest and, well, toughest people of all time have suffered from depression. Politicians, astronauts, poets, painters, philosophers, scientists, mathematicians (a hell of a lot of mathematicians), actors, boxers, peace activists, war leaders, and a billion other people fighting their own battles. You are no less or more of a man or a woman or a human for having depression than you would be for having cancer or cardiovascular disease or a car accident.
So what should we do? Talk. Listen. Encourage talking. Encourage listening. Keep adding to the conversation. Stay on the lookout for those wanting to join in the conversation. Keep reiterating, again and again, that depression is not something you “admit to”, it is not something you have to blush about, it is a human experience. It is not you. It is simply something that happens to you. And something that can often be eased by talking. Words. Comfort. Support. It took me more than a decade to be able to talk openly, properly, to everyone, about my experience. I soon discovered the act of talking is in itself a therapy. Where talk exists, so does hope. …”
Steph believes talking saves lives. Having lost her uncle to suicide and supported close friends through suicidal ideation, her aim is to raise awareness of suicide prevention and help people to feel confident and comfortable in conversations about suicide.
EXCERPTS “…In the UK, the male suicide rate is its lowest since 1981 – 15.5 deaths per 100,000. But suicide is still the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45. And a marked gender split remains. For UK women, the rate is a third of men’s: 4.9 suicides per 100,000.
It’s the same in many other countries. Compared to women, men are three times more likely to die by suicide in Australia, 3.5 times more likely in the US and more than four times more likely in Russia and Argentina. WHO’s data show that nearly 40% of countries have more than 15 suicide deaths per 100,000 men; only 1.5% show a rate that high for women.”
Men are more likely to die of suicide than women. – This reality bothers me so much,
We, both men and women, together as a community must do something about it.
If you’re a man and you struggle , please join our FB group. It’s a small online community of amazing, compassionate people.
I am also going to start a section on our resource library WorkWithTheBrainYouHave dot com for men, depression, & suicide.
… and that’s … my friends, being outside, in the nature, watching the sunrise with my dogs, just really intense self care…
It’s a gift for me to be strong and happy even if he’s really depressed.
I think my path is to be a truth teller.
And Brad is a truth teller. Trust the journey!
It’s gonna turn out okay. It’s gonna turn out great, actually …” (smile).
You have to put on your oxygen mask FIRST.
If you have a loved one with depression, anxiety, or other brain conditions, sometimes it can be challenging. Unfortunately for many of us, we forget that we have to also take care of ourselves. It is vital to take care of ourselves because we can’t pour from an empty cup. Amy is the first person I heard saying that metaphor; the metaphor I always use to answer people who reached out to me about feeling burned out when caring for a loved one with mental illness.
What would happen if we all went home and had conversations with the men in our lives about what they’re feeling and thinking? The answer to solving today’s male suicide crisis may be simply listening to the men in our lives.
At some point in your life you’ll probably be touched by male* suicide. It’s now the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK with 12 men taking their own lives every day.
In her challenging TEDx talk, Steph Slack shares her personal story of how losing her uncle to suicide caused her to question how we react to men who experience suicidal thoughts.
Steph asks: what if we stop seeing having suicidal thoughts as something unusual, change our stereotypical expectations of men and instead, support men who have the courage to be vulnerable with us?
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or are in crisis, in the UK Samaritans operate a 24/7 helpline on 116 123 or CALM operate a helpline 5pm to midnight for men on 0800 585858.
The Weight of Gold is an HBO Sports documentary exploring the mental health challenges that Olympic athletes often face. The film comes during a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed the 2020 Tokyo Games — the first such postponement in Olympic history — and greatly exacerbated mental health issues.
The film seeks to inspire discussion about mental health issues, encourage people to seek help, and highlight the need for readily available support. It features accounts from Olympic athletes who share their own struggles with mental health issues, including Michael Phelps, Apolo Ohno, Shaun White, Lolo Jones, Gracie Gold, Katie Uhlaender, Bode Miller, David Boudia, Jeremy Bloom, Sasha Cohen, and, posthumously, Steven Holcomb and Jeret “Speedy” Peterson (via his mother, Linda Peterson).
“Sidney, you told me that you wanted to be a writer more than anything in the world.”
He suddenly had my attention. “That was yesterday.”
“What about tomorrow?”
I looked at him puzzled. “What?”
“You don’t know what can happen tomorrow. Life is like a novel, isn’t it? It’s filled with suspense. You have no idea what’s going to happen until you turn the page.”
“I know what’s going to happen. Nothing.”
“You don’t really know that, do you?” Everyday is a different page, Sidney, and they can be full of surprises. You’ll never know what’s next until you turn the page.”
I thought about that. He did have a point. Every tomorrow was like the next page of a novel.
We turned the corner and walked down a deserted street. “If you really want to commit suicide, Sidney, I understand. But I’d hate to see you close the book too soon and miss all the excitement that could happen to you on the next page — the page you’re going to write.”
Don’t close the book too soon… Was I closing it too soon? Something wonderful could happen tomorrow.
Either my father was a superb salesman or I wasn’t fully committed to ending my life, because by the end of the next block, I had decided to postpone my plan.
Sidney Sheldon was a very successful American writer and producer. He is consistently cited as one of the top ten best selling fiction writers of all time
NY Times reported, “Variety estimated Mr. Sheldon’s net worth, including his earnings from his film and television ventures, at $3 billion. Mr. Sheldon’s books have been published in 51 languages, making him, by many accounts, the most widely translated author in the world. “
What many don’t know is that Sidney Sheldon almost died of suicide at the age of 17, and was saved because his father (who was supposed to be away) forgot something and had to go back home.