Asking for help can be hard for men who have grown up learning that to seek help is a sign of weakness.
Unfortunately, this leaves men more susceptible to not getting the support they need to get through depression and increased risk of suicide.
With help, depression and suicidal thoughts that can accompany it are treatable. Men, the fact is, “Yes,” you can get through this and “No,” it’s not something you caused or something you have to face on your own.
Now is the time to break through the stigma around men’s mental health and realize that you are not alone in your struggle with depression and thoughts of suicide. There are many men struggling with similar issues and for lots of reasons men tend to struggle in silence and this makes it all the worse.
To get started be aware and on the look out for the signs of depression and suicidal ideation in both yourself and in your friends and family members - and then help end the silence that leads to so many preventable deaths each year.
What are the warning signs?
Talking about suicide or death
It’s misguided to assume that people talk about suicide or death to get attention. The reality is that suicidal thoughts are an indication of deep pain and a not seeing alternatives or solutions that can remove the pain. It’s important to take these words seriously when we hear them.
Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
Men might use phrases like, “what is the point” or “there’s nothing left for me” to describe thoughts of hopelessness. Expressions of self-loathing are also indicators of a high level of inner pain and a possible warning sign of suicidal risk.
Putting affairs in order
Giving away possessions or suddenly focusing on putting affairs in order or saying goodbye to friends and family could be a warning sign.
Isolation from others
Isolation is a hallmark of depression. The worse the person feels, the more they tend to avoid others, even avoiding activities that used to bring them joy.
Someone suffering with depression who has lethal means or is seeking out lethal means such as a gun, ropes, knives or pills is at greater risk of carrying out a suicide attempt if their risk reaches a high level.
What to do if you or someone you know is exhibiting some of the above warning signs?
Talking to someone about what you’re going through is key. Find a trusted person or a professional to speak to or encourage the person to share what they’re going through and seek out a professional who can help.
If you or the person suffering is in immediate danger, call 911 or if in crisis and need someone to speak to immediately, call a crisis hotline 1-800-784-2433 (British Columbia, Canada).
Spread the word about suicide prevention
September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. This day is all about raising awareness about suicide and finding ways to get the message to people suffering with depression and suicidal ideation to get the support they need.
Another way to support is through the UBC fundraising event called Midnight Watch Campaign: https://crowdfundraising.ubc.ca/projects/midnight-watch/
For more information about men’s mental health the website Heads Up Guys is an excellent resource: https://headsupguys.org/