42% of men have thought of killing themselves

42% of men aged 16-45 have considered suicide. Almost half of the men in this country aged 16-25 have thought about taking their own lives, ending it all. A full 41% of them didn't talk to anyone about it.

Male suicide is the reason Year of the Male exists. I have known for some time that suicide is the biggest killer of men aged 20- 45. When statistics for 2014 came out and I learned that 12 men a day or 4,623 males had taken their own lives which accounted for 76% of suicides that year I was not shocked. It was more of the same, the same story that has played out for years; men kill themselves far more often than women.

Then came these little stats: 42% of men 16-45 have considered suicide; 41% talked to no one. They come care of a YouGov poll of over 2000 men and they stopped me in my track. How can this many men be thinking about this and the discussion be virulently none existent.

The reasons these men kept the mouths locked shut? 32% said they didn't want people to worry about them. For 29% talking about their feelings was sufficiently intimidating and 24% simply did not want to cause a fuss. So they talked to no one not a doctor, a friend, a family member not even a stranger.

A full 42% of men (16-45) are thinking about taking their own lives, if 42% of people are doing it then it can only be described as normal. Thinking about ending it all is normal: a scary or reassuring depending on your view point. Unfortunately talking about it isn't normal. This makes sense really, boys aren't taught to express their emotions but instead to suppress it – big boys don’t cry after all. We look up to strong independent men not men who talk about their feelings.

So long as these ideas persist many men will feel that they are unable to speak up about how they are feeling and suffer in silence. Without help they may become another one of those 12 men a day who take their own lives. We need to get the conversation going, say to men that it’s ok to talk about their feelings.

Well if CALM is about one thing it’s about that very conversation so on Monday they launched #BiggerIssues. The campaign will compare how many more people are talking a relatively trivial issue with how many people are talking about male suicide. At the moment going to biggerissues.co.uk reveals that frothy coffee is a bigger than suicide. Previously Ludacris’ watch was a bigger talking point by the time you read this it will be something new.

This all leads up to 19th of November or International Men’s Day when we will try and get #BiggerIssues trending on twitter and hopefully get at least a few guys talking about how they are feeling rather than that funny video they saw on Facebook.  

You can join in simply use the #BiggerIssues on the 19th and in the build up or you can also sign up to a thunder clap – which sets up your Twitter or Facebook to send out the message: “Suicide is the single biggest killer of guys under 45. We aren't talking about it enough. Let’s talk #BiggerIssues http://thndr.me/nxnyxp” at 8 in the morning on the day.

Finally you can always talk to your friends and family. It’s normal to worry, be sad and even contemplate ending it all. So the sooner us guys get used to talking about how we feel the bigger the chance of a happier tomorrow. 

Photo by George Fox Evangelical Seminary used under creative commons licence original on Flickr