Men Are 3.5 Times More Likely To Commit Suicide, So Why Are We Still Silent?

Men Are 3.5 Times More Likely To Commit Suicide, So Why Are We Still Silent?

Despite being more likely to die from suicide than women, men are routinely absent from our suicide prevention programs.

Earlier this week, September 11th, I attended a club meeting on the campus of the Ohio State University; it was a meeting of the Buckeye Campaign Against Suicide. Much like the previous meeting, I found everyone there to be wonderful. There was just one problem: out of the 27 people there, I was one of only seven men. The previous meeting included a similar proportion.

As I was discussing this with some friends of mine, a couple responses stood out. One of my friends back home in Cincinnati told me, "At least you weren't the only guy. That's good." Another friend, here at OSU, expressed her surprise that the number of guys was even that high, saying, "It's sad, but I would've expected an even lower percentage than that."

Some brief research reaffirms what I'd seen through my own personal experience and through the responses of my friends: suicide prevention is disproportionately levied toward girls and the benefits disproportionately go to them, as well.

One particularly damning report from the US government concluded that "Several studies have shown females to be more responsive to and accepting of suicide awareness programming in schools when compared to male classmates." The same report found "Females showed greater knowledge of and more constructive attitudes about depression and suicide than males. Females were also more likely than males to seek help for emotional disturbances, to intervene on behalf of peers, and to report their own suicidal thoughts or attempts."

It appears clear to me that at a societal level, we are failing the men and boys of the country when it comes to suicide prevention and mental health treatment as a whole, especially as men are 3.5 times more likely to die from suicide than women.

I think that a big part of our problem arises with our generally accepted definition of what it means to "be a man;" our problem arises with our view of masculinity, in all its toxicity. From a young age, boys are taught not to cry or to express or share feelings and emotions, as it is seen as a sign of weakness and, even worse, a sign of femininity.

These bottled up emotions fester and build up inside until either some cathartic release to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist or, in the worst of cases, they're never released at all and our young boys become tortured men.

Coming from an all-male high school, one whose students experienced the pain and anguish of suicide more deeply than anyone that age should, I've seen this firsthand. However, I've also seen that it doesn't have to be this way. I've seen high school boys come together and form a community of love and mutual caring when we needed it most. I've seen cathartic, mass releases of emotion when we've needed it most.

I just wish that it didn't take a tragedy to find that catharsis. I wish that boys were encouraged to deal with their emotions in healthy ways, rather than being told to "suck it up" before something happened. I wish that we could deal with suicide prevention, rather than just suicide postvention.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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50 Things To Be Happy About

It's the little things in life.

It is always easier to pick out the negatives in life. We tend to dwell on them and drown out the happy moments. I asked a friend to tell me something that made them happy. They sarcastically laughed at my question then thought about it for a minute. Nothing. But they could easily come up with things that made them unhappy. Then I read them my list, and they were smiling and laughing in agreement the whole time. There are so many more things to be happy and laugh about than we realize. After all- it's the little things in life that can mean the most! Here are 50 things that make me happy. What are your 50?

  1. The first warm day of the year
  2. Laughing so hard your abs ache
  3. Freshly washed sheets
  4. Looking through old pictures
  5. The smell of a coffee shop
  6. Eating cookie dough
  7. Reading a bible verse that perfectly fits your current situation
  8. Seeing someone open a gift you got them
  9. Eating birthday cake
  10. A shower after a long day
  11. Marking something off your to-do list
  12. Drinking ice cold water on a really hot day
  13. Dressing up for no reason
  14. Breakfast food
  15. Being able to lay in bed in the morning
  16. Finding something you love at the store
  17. And it’s on sale
  18. Cute elderly couples
  19. When a stranger compliments you
  20. Getting butterflies in your stomach
  21. Taking a nap
  22. Cooking something delicious
  23. Being lost for words
  24. Receiving a birthday card in the mail
  25. And there's money in it
  26. Finally cleaning your room
  27. Realizing how fortunate you are
  28. Waking up from a nightmare and realizing it wasn't real
  29. Fresh fruit
  30. Walking barefoot in the grass
  31. Singing along to a song in the car
  32. Sunrises
  33. Sunsets
  34. Freshly baked cookies with a glass of milk
  35. Summertime cookouts
  36. Feeling pretty
  37. Looking forward to something
  38. Lemonade
  39. Comfortable silences
  40. Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing you have more time to sleep
  41. Surviving another school year
  42. The cold side of the pillow
  43. The smell of popcorn
  44. Remembering something funny that happened
  45. Laughing to yourself about it
  46. Feeling weird about laughing to yourself
  47. Printed photographs
  48. Wearing a new outfit
  49. The sound of an ice cream truck
  50. Feeling confident
Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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Staying Quiet Is Never The Answer

Never hold in anything—always talk to someone.


"Talk to someone" may be a phrase used all of the time, but I'm serious when I say, talk to someone.

I cannot stress enough the importance of talking to someone when you are going through anything difficult that is bringing you down. Believe me when I say that this is something I had to learn myself. I'm the queen of not talking about anything to anyone and wearing my, "Everything is okay" mask, but that is one of the most unhealthy things you can do. Holding everything in is so damaging to you emotionally and mentally. When you bottle everything, it will eventually all come out and it will be on someone you are close to who had no idea about anything you tell them.

My reason for not talking was always that my problems would add a burden to someone else and I never wanted to do that; the truth is, those that care about you think more about ways they can help than your problems being a burden for them. I've always been the person to hold everything in until it got to be too much and then I would explode on one of the people closest to me; not only was that damaging to me, but it was damaging to my relationship with that person as well.

Talking to someone is one of the most serious things you can do. People have been placed in your life as people you can vent to and tell everything to. I'm not saying vent to everyone in your life, but find at least one person you can trust and talk to them. The more you talk to people and let them in, the easier it gets to become something you do normally and the easier life gets. Even if you don't want to talk to someone close to you, there are hotlines you can call and talk to people who literally do that as their job. Your problems are not a burden and do not need to be held inside.

Talk to someone; the more you do it, the easier it gets.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


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