Updated: Feb 1, 2019
There’s a staggering statistic doing the rounds, that stopped me in my tracks. The Movember Foundation carried out a survey at the end of last year and discovered that 1 in 8 men say they have no friends to discuss serious topics with - such as work, money worries or mental health.
On the surface of it, we’ve never been more ‘connected’. Social media seems to offer multiple opportunities to communicate with people, but sadly this communication is at best superficial and at worst, a contributing factor to feelings of loneliness.
A new study published in the Journal of Applied Biobehavioural Research, looked at around 500 millennials who actively used Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media and found that they were more likely to compare themselves to others better off than they were. This led to feelings of disconnection and loneliness.
Globally, every minute, a man dies by suicide. In the United Kingdom, 75% of suicides are men. The causes of suicide are complex and there’s no single reason why men take their own lives, but we do know that suicide is preventable, and mental health first aid is an important tool to help combat the problem.
So what can you do? If you have concerns that someone is considering ending their own life then don’t be afraid to talk about it with them. Many people have an understandable fear of ‘putting the idea in someone’s head’ by talking about suicide - but evidence shows that being open and acknowledging how someone is feeling is actually the very best thing you can do. Listen, be non-judgemental and be there for someone. Sometimes that is the very first and most important step.
Mental health first aiders learn how to open the conversation, how to offer support and what to do next.
To speak with someone immediately, contact Samaritans on 116 123.
If life is in danger, call 999 or go directly to emergency services.