Inspired by : Voices of Men By Jonny White
Statistics : ONS and Samaritans
Collaborated by : Northern Blogsco.
Through centuries of evolution of human race; progression, adaptation and globalisation, through cutthroat competitions and survival of the fittest, from bread winning to being on the bread line, the ‘man’ of the house indeed has always had a lot to live up to.
The individual and collective journey of the ‘stronger gender’ is perhaps one to explore deeper than what meets the eye. I often wonder, whether the world in general, countries, cultures and civilisations have somehow overburdened man of today, a little more than man of yesterday.
Males continue to account for three-quarters of suicide deaths in the UK. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures from 2018 revealed 4,903 male deaths compared with 1,604 female deaths and the latest increase in the overall UK rate appears to be largely driven by males, Additionally males aged 45 to 49 years had the highest age-specific suicide rate (27.1 deaths per 100,000 males); for females, the age group with the highest rate was also 45 to 49 years, at 9.2 deaths per 100,000.
It is almost heartbreakingly ironic how the oft generalised, apparent persona of macho masculinity, helps mask and gravely overlook the fact that men stand as (and potentially more) vulnerable to Mental Health Problems than their female counterparts and that underneath this presumed epitome of strength, might, power and potency may be a ‘human’ who is susceptible and struggling.
The UK male suicide rate of 17.2 deaths per 100,000 represents a significant increase from the rate in 2017; for females, the UK rate was 5.4 deaths per 100,000, consistent with the rates over the past 10 years.
These statistics are humbling to say the least. Mental Health in general has been struggling with discrimination and bias, there’s a shame a stigma attached, to both the sufferer and the healer; there is victim shaming, blame and sadly, even disregard.
This bias has affected the sentiment on the whole but if we dig deeper, there’s an ironic disposition – The so-called perceptions of genders, the expectations the hierarchical benchmarks which predispose men to psychological pressures of presenting themselves as the ‘stronger gender’, the so-called masculinity or machoness is depicted through a tendency to alienate emotions and hide vulnerabilities, rather than explore and endorse them.
Besides vast genetic and environmental predisposition that puts men at risk of many mental and psychological illnesses, there are stark socio-economic factors that play part. Men are traditionally less likely to have social confidants ( outside their domestic relationship / partnership ) with whom they could emotionally connect ( hence drastic impact of relationship breakdowns), financial pressures and reluctance to seek support may lead one into a downward and vicious spiral of social isolation , delay in seeking and receiving help and concurrent use of Drug and Alcohol often as a self-sought remedy to address internalised pain – certainly a form of self-medication which often worsens both the progression and prognosis of illness.
Johnny White’s Film THE VOICES OF MEN, explores just that, real stories of courageous men who came forward, in face of stigma and discrimination, in face of their own insecurities and sensitivities, just to encourage and inspire many who must be fighting these silent battles. It’s documentation of courage and gallantary from a place that can be very solitude and often scary. And for once, helps us see the struggles beneath the strength in it’s raw, unfiltered form.
Watch the full video here :
It’s about time, and high time indeed that we start talking about Men’s Mental Health, and encourage others to do so, for Men’s Mental Health Problems are on an all time rise, and that this really Matters
Let there be openness, let there be vulnerability and let us all be ‘humans’ who endorse vulnerabilities. As that is the first step towards recovery, closely followed by the second step which is getting timely professional help.
And let’s all stand together, for ourselves and for one another, in this strenous journey through Mental Health Struggles, Strive and Stigmatisation 🧠