Men more likely to commit suicide than women

Men’s silence is their worst enemy, which results in many of them committing suicide daily trying to ‘tough it out’ and keep their feelings to themselves.

This was said by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) at this year’s commemoration of World Suicide Prevention Day, which was held on 10 September.

In a statement, Sadag said toughing it out was a mental health problem. “When things get tough, men need to talk, reach out, take action and look after themselves and each other to prevent 510 000 of them committing suicide worldwide annually and one every minute,” the statement read. It further stated that a third of adults in South Africa will be affected by mental illness at some stage in their lives and 23 committed suicide, while 200 more attempted suicide daily, countrywide.

In the same statement, Garron Gsell of Men’s Foundation said this is the biggest men’s health challenge. “Our fathers, partners, brothers and friends face this health crisis, which isn’t talked about. We need to talk and act on it and men should talk when things get tough,” he said.

Also, research findings from the foundation’s study attributed the problem to many men feeling friendless. It said 51 per cent or an equivalent of 2.5 million respondents said they had no close friends and, being married or middle-aged significantly increased their lack of friends apart from only their marriage partners, who they turned to when in a crisis.

The problem was said to be a stigma to be shattered to help men live happier, healthier and longer lives.

The signs and symptoms of the problem include:

  • Feeling sad or empty, hopeless, irritable, anxious or angry
  • Loss of interest in work, family or once-pleasurable activities including intercourse
  • Not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
  • Inability to meet the responsibilities of work, caring for family, or other important activities.

Sadag urged those who are affected to stay connected with their friends and family and to link with a local support agency.

Details: Suicide Crisis Line 0800 567 567 SMS 31393.

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