In societal terms, most people assume that men have it easy, deeming it childish to almost think that men suffer just as much as women do. I for one disagree, now I'm not here to banter against women and shout anti-feminism, I believe both genders have their own forms of suffering that one or the other can't possibly fully understand. However, this isn't a post about the differences between the two. Joining me will be Jose Prado further explaining on what causes depression and suicide for the modern man.
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We commit ourselves too easily to one side. We blindly let our immediate emotions lead to any question, argument, or controversy and allow them to take control of our judgment. When it comes to dealing with human behavior and society, it is far too complicated to have simple, closed-ended answers. We live complex lives, and while we feel pain the same way, each of our experience is more or less unique. We believe our society's problems are as easy as basic arithmetic (and there's no denying that it can be sometimes). Though, if we clear our minds for a moment, we can see most of our problems are an elaborate series of complicated expressions and equations, twists and turns.
One of our modern problems constantly plagued by shallow judgment is that of male mass shooters, suicide, and depression.
We have come a long way in recent history to eradicate disparity and inequality, namely racism and women rights. Though, around the same time, we start seeing an uprise in statistic for mass shootings. There seems to be one every other month now. The peculiar thing is that all of these atrocities are committed by males. Only a few cases of public killing sprees were caused by women. With each and every case it seems like we are either condemning depressed men or trying to take everyone's guns away. Soon these two arguments take off and hijack the first problem itself. It only seems right. Let's condemn people like them. Let's take guns away. Clearly, we're trying to stop future killers; it looks like very reasonable approaches to this matter. We make it very clear these are unwanted men, and we're trying to stop them. This is exactly what we're doing wrong.
This is a deep-rooted problem, that has many causes, which we need to understand to make sense of that statement.
If you think it's weapons you're wrong.
If you think it's mental illness, look elsewhere.
If you think it's depression, you're not looking deep enough.
This is not one of those post defending guns, it's hardly a comforting feeling that an average person has the privilege to own guns and rifles, even if there are more regulations and restrictions than ever. Though we digress. Let's talk about men for a moment and the leading factors to depression and suicide amongst men:
Society's Rise of Sexual Liberation:
Through sexual liberation, society emphasizes that an extroverted personality is essential to get into relationships. As well as how sex is now the power necessary in relationships and social interactions. With teens, instead of practicing abstinence, we encourage safe sex. Previously mentioned in my last article, "Why Our Generation's Hunt For Relationships Is Ruined," — "Sex has become such a pivotal part of our generation's culture that we often dismiss the idea of not having it, and look for ways to get it right away. Whether it be men or women, it goes both ways whether you agree or disagree. No matter the sexual orientation either, sexual relations run high in the community and is always looked for or always mentioned." Ironically this leads to teen pregnancy, with parents being neither mentally nor financially mature. As we try and unfortunately fail to wipe gender roles, we only end up keeping the same level of ideas and expectations for both men and women. In every culture men are expected to hide their emotions, have athletic and teamwork skills, and also a practical skill set. This toll carries a heavy burden onto men and creates a pre-destined role that shouldn't be automatically followed. Thus creating a "make it or break it" sense of anxiety.
Bad parenting (or lack of):
Nowadays teenagers, young adults, and struggling parents pose a great risk to child neglect or abandonment. As we often don't teach children how to cope with their emotions and would rather shut them up through miscellaneous things, such as a phone or tablet. For modern bad parents are afraid of letting their children get hurt. Boys grow up being hesitant risk takers and depend too much on external validation. This carries on as they grow up and it's a trait of low confidence and anxiety. This also creates an inclination for parents to avoid getting their child involved in skill activities or such as sports or music. Thus preventing the child to have poor social and cooperative skills. While these are both are undermining both to men and women's lives, the ladder is specifically detrimental to boys and young men. The lower the social skills you have, the sooner it would hit you in life. And when you're a depressed teenager, you're either naive or you make very risky decisions that may even involve hurting yourself or others.
Mental illness (a small minority):
And here's the obvious problem faced within male suicide, depression. Although depression is a mental illness, for the most part, it can be prevented. There are certain mental diseases that can affect the child without any of the causes mentioned above. The lower the social skills obtained, the harder it would hit you to cope with yourself. This leads to suicide and mass shootings, as statistically it's been shown time and time again that most people who have committed suicide suffered from depression. For example, like famous and late singers Chester Bennington from Linkin Park or Chris Cornell from Soundgarden. Suicide is at an all-time high with men being the highest percentage to commit suicide. According to Save.org, men are actually four times higher than women. As 79% of male-related deaths are suicidal based.
Overall we often depict men as to be such masculine and strong figures, but under the root of it all- we're all just average people trying to get by. However, suicide and depression is no laughing matter. It is a serious undermining issue we all face today, if you or someone you know is facing depression or is considering suicide, please do not hesitate to seek them out and help. Helping those who don't have the strength to help themselves is really important. Every form of help is a life saved. Below are several numbers you can contact, suicide prevention websites, and Linkin Park's suicide prevention fund, One More Light.
Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
This is a collaborative piece with aspiring psychologist Jose Prado. Prado, 20, is a modern-day "squirrel," your "crunchy napkin" (as he likes to refer to himself as), and a good friend of mine. He and I share very unique conversations regarding society and have many philosophical debates. This piece was a common topic we had planned and had in mind many times before and decided to put our thoughts together and create this collaborative piece.