By: Tamara Ince
Society, spouses, and friends often expect men to be strong, successful, in control, problem solvers, bread winners, and the one who steps up when life falls apart. This causes men to suffer and even die from mental health challenges in silence. Every 20 minutes in the United States a man commits suicide, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Based on research by Dr. Nock, 3 out of every 4 US suicide victims are men. Around the world, men are up to 7.5 times more likely to kill themselves than women, according to Nock. Möller-Leimkühler found men are more successful than women at killing themselves on their first suicide attempt with few warning signs.
Unlike men, women often show signs. It is common for women to talk daily about their problems, share their thoughts and emotions with friends, go to support groups, confide in family and give warning signs when they are overwhelmed or suicidal. Often these conversation can even have therapeutic value. Men are commonly taught not to do any of this, so often no one knows when their male loved ones are in crisis. The men just hold it in and then resort to suicide or unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Unhealthy coping techniques, such as substance abuse, are three times more common in men than women. Being intoxicated or under the influence of drugs can increase risk of suicide because inhibitions are decreased, while levels of aggression and depression increase. Similarly, men may develop addictions, such as over-eating, gambling, and sex, and even become unfaithful in an effort to cope with life.
How do we empower our men to become leaders and excel? “Education is the key” noted author Michael Baisden in his book Men Cry in the Dark. No longer is participation in therapy considered a sign of weakness or failure for men. In fact, to reach their potential, men need to have access to emotional support, healing activities, healthy relationships, and education on emotional and mental health.
Activities such as 30 minutes of reading can significantly reduce stress, heart rate, and blood pressure, according to Dr. Rizzolo, just. So, as you learn, you can relax. Here are some books to start with.
healthy coping techniques, and strengthen their relationships with their children, partners, family, friends and colleagues, as noted by Haig, Massenzio, and Yardy.
Do you or someone you love struggle handling life? Now is the time to seek help so he can take charge of his thoughts and emotions. Half of Ince Counseling’s clients are men, a testament to the fact men need to and are taking their mental health seriously. Would you like to partner with Ince Counseling? Start by contacting our scheduling team at 1.833.968.8255.
Baisden, Michael. Men Cry in the Dark. Baisden Pub., 2013
Möller-Leimkühler, Anne Maria. "The gender gap in suicide and premature death or: why are men so vulnerable?." European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience253.1 (2003): 1-8.
Nock, MK, Borges, F, Bromet EJ, et al, “Suicide and suicidal behavior”, Epidemiological Review (2008) 30:133-154.
Rich, Charles L., and Gary M. Warsradt. "Suicide, stressors, and the life cycle." The American Journal of Psychiatry 148.4 (1991): 524.
Rizzolo, Denise, et al. "Stress management strategies for students: The immediate effects of yoga, humor, and reading on stress." Journal of College Teaching & Learning 6.8 (2009): 79-88.
Robins, Eli, et al. "Some clinical considerations in the prevention of suicide based on a study of 134 successful suicides." American Journal of Public Health and the Nations Health 49.7 (1959): 888-899.
Runeson, Bo, et al. "Method of attempted suicide as predictor of subsequent successful suicide: national long term cohort study." Bmj 341 (2010): c3222.
“Suicide Statistics.” AFSP, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/ Accessed October 17, 2018.