Why Are So Many Men In The UK Committing Suicide?
Male suicides across the world have hit alarming levels. We only hear about the celebrity suicides from media sources which do not take into account the numerous other individuals who have tragically taken their own life as a last resort.
The world has publicly mourned the loss of famous Hollywood stars including Robin Williams and Heath Ledger, Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, Celebrity Chef Anthony Bourdain and more recently in the UK, Prodigy frontman Keith Flint and Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis.
All of these men to the outside world seemed to have everything in place, they seemed to have it together, and they seemed to have bright futures ahead of them. The most insidious characteristics of depression and addiction are the silence and the secrecy. Very few will express how they truly feel when they reach a point where they want to end it all – for good.
The sad reality is that mental health illnesses such as depression and addiction are still considered to be choices by many individuals. Usually, those that have never previously experienced them.
For those that do suffer from mental health problems, their condition is very real. Every day becomes a struggle, intrusive dark thoughts crowd their mind, and they struggle to express their reality to others.
Please Talk To Someone If Your Struggling
Mario Falcone, TV reality star best known for his appearances on The Only Way is Essex was a close friend of the recently deceased Mike Thalassitis, who was found hanging aged only 26. Mario spoke out about his friend’s tragic death on Instagram, pleading:
“Please guys, if you are struggling, talk to someone.”
Mike is one of the many males that have taken their lives in the UK over the past few years. As numbers have increased, we felt it pertinent to raise awareness around this delicate subject.
Suicide Is The No. 1 Killer Of Men Under 45 In The UK
Last year a study conducted by the Samaritans revealed the following shocking statistics:
- In 2017 a staggering 6,213 suicides were recorded in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
- Suicide is the number one killer of men who die under the age of 45 in the UK
- Men in the UK are three times more likely than women to take their own life
- Men in the Republic of Ireland are four times more likely than women to take their own life
- Men aged 45-49, of middle age within the UK, have been identified as the highest risk of suicide.
- In Scotland, suicide in young men increased for the third consecutive year in 2017
- Suicide is the second most common cause of death amongst homeless people in England and Wales
The Office for National Statistics has also released data showing that drug and alcohol poisoning is the second most common method used in committing suicide, hanging being the first.
In the US Suicide deaths growing at the fastest pace in years
America is currently facing an addiction-related suicide crisis. America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The Trust for America’s Health and Well Being Trust have pooled together data to paint a very bleak picture of the US’s current mental health reality.
Spotting The Warning Signs of Suicide
The Alliance for Suicide Prevention Charities TASC has listed three warning signs that indicate an individual is at high risk of attempting suicide. These warning signs are:
- They threaten to hurt or kill themselves
- They actively look for ways to kill themselves, such as stockpiling tablets or buying equipment that could be used to suffocate or hang themselves
- They talk or write about death, dying or suicide
In the professional addiction treatment field, we refer to these warning signs as suicidal ideation. In other words, an individual is planning or forming ideas on how to take their own life.
Other warning signs include:
- They express feelings of hopelessness, saying things such as, “What’s the point of even trying? I know things are never going to get better.”
- They uncharacteristically suffer from episodes of sudden rage and anger
- They act recklessly and engage in risky activities with little regard for the consequences
- They talk about feeling trapped and express that they cannot see a way out of their current situation
- They start to abuse drugs or alcohol or use more drugs or alcohol than they usually do
- They become increasingly withdrawn from friends, family and society
- They often appear anxious and agitated
- They have insomnia or sleep too much
- The suffer from sudden mood swings
- They talk and act in a way that suggests their life has no purpose
- They lose interest in their appearance and hygiene as they see no point or it feels like too much effort
- They are putting their affairs in order
Helping Someone Who Is Suicidal
If you spot the above warning signs in a family member, loved one, friend or someone you know, please approach them and ask them if they need help. Urge them to talk to their GP, a counsellor or someone they trust.
If they are displaying the high-risk signs of suicide indicated in red and have a mental health nurse or psychiatrist that you have the contact details for, please let their professional workers know your concerns immediately.
If you are worried that they may imminently take their own life it is best to be safe and call 999 for an ambulance, or have them admitted to a rehab facility if they have a drug or alcohol problem and are willing to undergo treatment.
Many people avoid talking about negative feelings through fear of being shamed or judged. It is this stigma that needs to be broken for the people who are suffering to feel comfortable enough to come forward and ask for help.
Those that suffer from mental health conditions need to know that it is not their fault and that mental health illness is not a choice. No individual with a clear mind thinks of ending their life as a valid solution.
Treatment for Depression and Alcoholism or Depression and Drug Addiction
We who work in the field of addiction treatment understand that depression and addiction often go hand in hand. Classed as being dual diagnosis we realise the importance of appropriate and comprehensive treatment for the individuals that suffer.
Rehab Guide, therefore, work with CQC registered drug and alcohol rehabs that are purpose built and equipped to treat dual diagnosis patients comprehensively. Dual diagnosis illnesses need to be treated simultaneously within a safe, recovery focused environment by staff that are trained and qualified to deliver. Leaving one illness untreated, inevitably leads to a relapse of the other.
In our experience depression and alcoholism or depression and drug addiction can be a deadly combination. Individuals who suffer from these need special treatment as a matter of urgency. Dual diagnosis patients are often the most vulnerable and complex to treat, but there is hope, and we have witnessed many recover through the help of our private rehabilitation centres.
Support For Someone Feeling Suicidal
Sources of support for a person feeling suicidal include:
- For confidential support in the UK, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details.
- Your local A&E department
- National Suicide Prevention Alliance – http://www.nspa.org.uk/contact-us/
- Your GP
- CALM – https://www.thecalmzone.net/help/get-help/suicide/
- SANE Mental Health Helpline. Meeting the challenge of mental illness
SANE’s helpline is a national, 7 days a week, out-of-hours (6-11pm) telephone helpline for anyone coping with mental illness, including concerned relatives or friends. Tel: 0300 304 7000. www.sane.org.uk
- Hub of Hope
Local resources throughout the UK
A UK website that uses your location or postcode to search for local services around you. An easily searchable database of local support groups and organisations within the UK. www.hubofhope.co.uk
Office for National Statistics (ONS)
The Alliance for Suicide Prevention Charities
America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The Trust for America’s Health and Well Being Trust