There’s an epidemic out there and no one is talking about it. Especially not men. It’s understandable because many men just aren’t comfortable sharing their feelings and the scary part is it’s killing us at an alarming rate.
The most recent findings coming from the Statistics Canada website indicate suicide is the second leading cause of death in men between the ages of 25 -44. Only accidents kill more men each year between 2012 and 2016. From 44-64, suicide is still ranked in the top 5 causes of death.
According to the CDC, in the US, suicide ranks 8th however, they’re statistics are even more troubling. In 2004, more than 32,000 suicides occurred in the year. That’s 89 per day with males taking their own lives nearly four times more than the rate of females.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the underlying cause of all of this is depression. And because men are less likely to seek help male depression is under-diagnosed. For men, the symptoms can be different than the standard of sadness. Instead, it shows up as fatigue, irritability, sleep disturbances, and loss of interest in work and hobbies. Generally speaking, depression is caused by three factors. Genetics, environmental stress, and illness.
Man, when I read all of this research it scared the crap out of me because it reminded me of how close I came to ending everything nearly twenty years ago. You see I went through a divorce and lost everything. I mean everything bankruptcy, my kids, nothing was left. It was the most traumatic thing that ever happened to me. At the time, I can remember wanting nothing to do with living and the pain was unbearable. Luckily I had someone in my life who was there to care for me during my deepest and darkest nights. I was one of the lucky ones. From that point on, I made it my mission to never return to that place again. It’s a long journey my friend and it has been worth seeing the results.
So what can you do about this silent killer? Out of the gate, if you or you suspect a male friend is suffering from depression seek medical help immediately. There’s nothing un-macho about going to the doctor guys. Now, I’m not a doctor so I can’t tell you whether to take prescribed meds or not that is your choice. Just know do what is right for you.
What I do recommend is to look for a peer group where you can feel comfortable sharing your story and be in the presence of other men. Talk therapy and MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) are also great ways to work through life’s challenges.
I created the Band of Brothers to give men the space to be vulnerable and share their stories. Sometimes we will deal with heavy shit like this. Other times, it will be light-hearted. The goal is to get men talking about stuff. There’s so much to discover if only we are willing to participate and share our stories, successes, mistakes and triumphs. When we do that it makes all of us better.
All I can say is your only alone if you choose to be. Let’s make a different choice and help those that are close to us make a similar decision as well.