Since 2018, males aged 45-49 are the most likely to commit suicide in the UK. As the numbers rise every year, more awareness and action needs to be taken to prevent suicide being seen as the only choice by those in need of support.
Read Time: 3 Mins
Male suicide has often been labelled the silent epidemic due to its lack of publicity or media coverage, with many men feel unable to speak out or ask for help from family members and help centres. Movemeber has helped increase public awareness of male suicide and how to help with a focus ‘on prevention, early intervention and health promotion’, but more needs to be done.
As of 2018, men became three times more likely to commit suicide than women in the UK, with the highest rates being seen in men aged 45 – 49. Though there are limited reports discussing the reasoning and prevention behind these rates, it is theorised that contributing behaviours and external factors such as illness, business failures, low confidence and a lack of a supporting friendship group, all contributed to the high numbers. Accompanying theories also indicate that older men are more likely to commit suicide as upbringing strategies favoured internalising feelings and silence over communication and additional help.
Aside from age factors, an alarming globally researched report showed that around 60% of male suicides occur in Asian countries, with similar articles suggesting that these high rates could be due to a lack of communication within these communities. In Asian languages such as Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu there isn’t a directly translatable phrase for the word depression in English. For men experiencing low mood, depression and other contributing factors, we need to create a safe space for them to talk about suicide in a comfortable and open minded way.
Suicide is a sensitive and complex issue that is frequently hidden away in every day life, apart from during specific calendar events such as Movemeber and Project 84, but we believe that anyone regardless of age, gender or ethnicity who needs help should have access to it. This is why we at Live On want to raise awareness of the current silent epidemic evident within the UK and globally through frequent updates and community discussions.
When experiencing and coping with contributing factors such as stress and low mood, distraction and safe space techniques can be used while experiencing negative emotions. Ensuring you are with a friend or family member during these moments will help you progress through them until you feel ready to take the next step. We also suggest doing something you enjoy, such as an exercise or an activity like cycling or fishing. Even something simple like playing with a pet can be of huge benefit when working through difficult times.
Making a safety plan in advance has also shown to be highly beneficial as it can be completed by the person in their own time, reducing the fear of involving others during difficult times. Safety plans provide a step by step plan that works through suicide and self-harm prevention, including personally chosen distraction techniques and chosen support centers that can be accessed when required. It’s important that the safety plan is written in advance ensuring the progress through low mood and thoughts of suicide are easier to navigate.
Another prevention strategy used by health organisations is called The Compassion Kit/ Emergency Box. This box or kit will include objects that calm and soothe the creator during low mood episodes. Items such as music, images, books and achievements can all be added to the Compassion Kit, reminding the creator of their importance and enjoyments while enforcing a feel good atmosphere. It’s also recommended to add in a handwritten letter for the creator to the creator that is personal and reassuring.
These prevention strategies are important stepping stones in the journey towards suicide prevention. They are personal and can be hidden if the person experiencing low mood feels isolated or unable to speak up.
We however do encourage communication and external help for anyone considering suicide as an option as this is the best way to prevent suicide. We understand that the first steps towards suicide prevent can be difficult and shrouded in mystery for those who feel isolated, however, using the above strategies will help you and anyone affected by suicide begin their journey towards increased mental wellness.
The Live On Community is here for you. We will continue to provide a platform and resources for those experiencing difficult times related to mental health and grief.
Visit our Helpful Websites page for links to helplines and other centres. There’s no shame in asking for help.