Mental Health Awareness Week – Reflecting on The Male Suicide Epidemic
Yes, I’m a Chiropractor and help people with their ‘mechanical’ complaints, but there are a whole host of factors that influence how we physically, mentally and emotionally feel and respond. Every single person who walks through my clinic door thinks and feels differently. None of us can ever completely understand another’s thought process, choices or beliefs.
I’m going to focus this blog on a rather ‘taboo’ subject – Male Suicide. Why? Because if I’m totally honest I know three males within my close network who have taken this route in the last five years. One of these was, at one stage, very close to me. My journey with him was also very destructive on my life and how I felt about myself.
Four very vital things I learnt:
If you aren’t ok, you can’t help others
We all have to find our own way and choose to be brave and seek the help we need
No one can make you seek help
Only you can find what works for you or how to manage your negative thoughts
The idea of me writing this blog is to be open so that more people have the courage to reach out for help. Not only the people who consider suicide, but also those who may well have battled with the volatile emotions of friends or family who have voiced suicidal thoughts or even taken their own lives. Plus, of course, people who noticed no concerns with a loved one who also took this route.
Many people jump to conclusions, judge, comment and say nasty things, but the truth is that none of us ever know the facts that contributed to a person’s decision of suicide.
One thing I have learnt is ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.’ We all also have a responsibility to take care of ourselves. If you are not looking after yourself physically, mentally and emotionally, you cannot help others.
As already mentioned, I personally have been very close to someone who took their own life. This was an incredibly shocking thing to go through even though, at the time, we had parted company some years before. The most prominent memories I recall from hearing the news were the ‘whys’:
Why did someone with so much potential do this?
Why did he leave others without him in their lives and cause them pain?
Why did he think this was the only option?
The truth is I will never know why. My thought process is different and I will never understand or be able to control another person’s thoughts.
Since losing this person, two other young men within my network have also taken their lives. All of these talented individuals have been between the age of 20 and 28, a time when many would imagine they are in their prime.
What do the statistics show? (Information provided by ‘Samaritans UK & Ireland’)
Middle-aged men are one of the most high-risk groups from suicide – they remain three times more likely to take their own lives than women.
In 2012 the Samaritans charity produced a report on Middle–age male suicide focusing on six key factors:
- Personality traits
- Relationship breakdowns
- Challenges of mid-life
- Emotional illiteracy
- Socio-economic factors
Chiropractic is a treatment that helps the physical body – but pain and discomfort can be key contributors to depression, as no one feels cheerful when they’re suffering. If you have any kind of physical pain, please seek help from a musculoskeletal specialist, such as a Chiropractor.
Many hundreds of blogs are being posted online to raise awareness of mental health issues this week. I hope that this short but heartfelt contribution touches one person enough to seek help, and my job will be done.