September 7th, 2015

Too often, the first and only time a man expresses how he’s feeling is in a suicide note. Men, we need to talk.

Suicide Notes Talk Too Late

Today, September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day.  Suicide is a significant global public health issue, men are at least three times more likely to die by suicide than women.
510,000 men die from suicide globally each year, that's one every minute…yet it’s hidden in the shadows and shrouded in stigma. It’s our mission that this becomes a global priority and we finally do something to address it.
It’s impossible to talk about suicide without talking about poor mental health, with approximately 90% of people who die by suicide experiencing a mental health problem.
Mental health problems affect men and women of all ages.  However, women are more likely to seek help for mental health problems, whereas men are very good at pretending nothing is wrong – even if we’re in a pretty bad place. We think that we can tough it out and somehow it will be all right tomorrow. This is a major problem as not taking action can lead you down a very dark path, with devastating results.
Tackling suicide is a complicated, sensitive area and one that needs a multi-tiered approach. However, we know that helping men stay mentally healthy is an important component and that getting men to talk about the ‘big’ stuff will result in an improvement in men’s mental health and a reduction in their suicidal behaviour.
We’re pretty good at talking about sport, work, the latest gadget, the latest film but as men need to get better at talking about the significant stuff going on in our lives – things like losing a job, the breakdown of a relationship, a significant set back, or becoming a father for the first time. These things happen to all of us and, for some, have the potential to derail us or just be more challenging than perhaps we’d imagined. A conversation at these times can help you remain on top of things.
I know first hand it isn’t easy to just talk, we were raised in a world where men were supposed to be in control, always strong, never weak, always winning.  And as a man I don’t want to burden others with my problems.  It’s just easier to say, “I’m good” when you’re casually asked “How ya doing mate?”  

Sadly as a result, in many cases the first time a man’s family and friends hear that things have been tough is in a suicide note. At which point, it’s too late, and that to me is just devastating.
It’s naive to think that a conversation will save every life but conversations do help men stay mentally healthy and we know there’s a close association with suicide and poor mental health. So it’s time to break our silence and recognise that the key to overcoming even the biggest problems is to start talking.
So I have a simple message – guys, we need to talk, especially when things get tough.

Adam Garone
Movember Foundation, CEO

We would encourage you to take action and seek help by talking to someone. Sharing your thoughts with someone you trust can sometimes decrease the burden of overwhelming thoughts of hopelessness or helplessness. A parent, close friend, teachers, colleague, or mentor may be a good first option. If you’d prefer not to speak to someone you know, then please contact Suicide Prevention Canada (local information in hyperlink). The important thing is that you don’t deal with this alone. There are people who want to help you. If you are in immediate danger or require medical assistance, call Emergency Services on 911.