Men are much more likely to end their own life then women. There are many reasons for this.
First, men are less likely to receive treatment for depression, the main cause of suicide. Paul Farmer the chief executive of the mental health charity MIND was reported in The Guardian as suggesting that men are missing out on treatment because criteria are skewed in GP practices to the emotional needs of women. As a result the problem is largely hidden in men. Furthermore ‘male’ symptoms of depression like aggression and anger are often missed.
Second, one of the protective factors in depression is social support. The more mates we have, and the easier we find it to talk to them, the less likely we are to get depressed and take our own lives. I have blogged before about ‘the male brain’ and the relative disadvantage we have as men at making the social ties we need stay well and healthy.
Third, the breakdown of the extended family often means that men have less social support than women. Often we find ourselves on the fringes of our birth family, and even excluded from regular meaningful contact with our own children. Being on the fringes of society greatly increases our risk of suicide.
If you are feeling suicidal right now there are a number of things you can do.
First, talk to someone and let them know. If you feel uncomfortable talking to someone you know, try The Samaritans on 0987 7890 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Second, let your GP know. It is really important to get access to the help you’re entitled to. Your GP won’t judge you. On the contrary he or she will more than likely be very concerned. Your GP will be able to advise you on local services available through the NHS, local charities and therapists in private practice.
Third, get a plan to grow your social capital. We all need mates to hang out with. The trouble with depression and suicide is we withdraw from what support is already there, and stop looking for new social outlets. If you have a plan to get out of your current mind state, you will feel less hopeless.
Finally, however bad things feel at the moment, depression and suicidal thoughts are probably the most treatable mental health problem, so there is always reason for optimism.
Dr Phil Tyson is a Men's Psychotherapist based in Manchester in the UK. He offers:
Dr Tyson is also regularly quoted in the printed media and as a guest on local and national broadcast media.