Lifeline suggests that males are committing suicide at a rate 3 times higher compared to women. On average it was equating to around 41 male deaths by suicide every week in Australia. There were men from all walks of life who thought that the world would be better off without them. They felt their families, children and friends would be better off. This was their only way out to stop whatever inner pain they were dealing with. More surprising however was the fact that in many cases, their family and friends were unaware they were facing any sort of struggle. They had put on a brave face and kept whatever they were feeling within until they couldn’t take it anymore.
It is not just an Australian problem, the numbers are up there all over the world. Even more and more public figures are taking their lives showing that people from all walks of life and different financial circumstances are not immune. Depression does not discriminate. In fact suicide is the number 1 killer of men under 44 years of age with 35-49 being the average age. Suffering from depression, relationship breakdowns, financial difficulties and drug and alcohol abuse are just some of the correlations.
Men sometimes feel they have to live up to expectation that men don’t cry, men don’t show their feelings and men are the strong bread winners. It is this expectation that may stop them from seeking help or reaching out. If you are talking to a friend, a brother, a father, a son or a partner, are you really listening to them? We cannot change the past, but we can try to change the future. By listening and helping someone get the help they need could very well save lives.
If you are in a workplace with high stress, it is imperative that staff are looked after. There are certain careers with a much higher mortality rate due to the stress and anxiety the job causes. For example people in the police force and paramedics are often subjected to horrific events on a sometimes daily basis. Things they cannot easily forget. Without the proper counselling and wellbeing programs in place, people can easily fall through the cracks. They may start resorting to drug and alochol use to lessen the pain they are feeling inside. While this may seem like a harmless solution, it makes conditions such as anxiety and depression worse. They are conditions that require proper treatment. But what if someone does not actively seek treatment? How do we help them? We start by getting them talking.
We often will ask someone when we greet them how are you? The response is usually I’m ok or I’m fine, even when they are not. It is an automatic response. We have to make sure we are asking someone the right questions. Sometimes just wording things differently or showing a person you are listening with body language can get them to open up further. Are there subtle changes or signs? Are they drinking more than usual, more tired than usual or quieter? More importantly, don’t wait until promotional days such as R U OK day to check in on someone. It is something we should be doing all the time.
If you would like to talk more on this topic for yourself or somene you know, please contact us and we can help.
If you need to talk to someone privately and confidentially, please take a moment to visit the below links or call the hotlines:
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Mensline: 1300 78 99 78
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