Men Are Dying In Isolation
TW: Suicide/ Suicidality
Men are killing themselves in isolation because they aren’t being given spaces to openly process their emotions. Men are killing themselves in isolation because they are being pressured into believing they have to uphold stereotypes of being “tough” 24/7. Men are killing themselves in isolation because they are being led to believe they aren’t supposed to lean on each other for emotional support, and, quite frankly, it’s bullshit. According to the CDC, nearly 45,000 Americans die by suicide each year and men make up 79% of that number.
Mental health is something we all have, just as we all have physical health. Mental health issues are something we all deal with as well. This could be periods of heightened stress, anxiety, or depression that could be situational or relational. A mental health issue becomes a mental illness when it begins impeding our ability to go about our daily lives or we become unable to cope with it in an effective way. No one is immune to mental health issues or mental illness. World-renowned boxer Tyson Fury opened up about his struggle with depression and suicidality in an interview last year at the height of his career.
One of the most effective ways to cope with depressive symptoms or depression is to be in community and share our inner experiences with others. Often times, men are denied this opportunity for a multitude of reasons. We have to change the way we view men being emotional. Take a moment to imagine a man expressing anger and notice your reaction. Now, take a moment to imagine a man expressing sadness and notice your reaction. Were they different? Suicide is a violent act. Expressing one’s emotions and fears is a vulnerable act. If we were more comfortable with men showing vulnerability they may not resort to violence so frequently.
How can we create safe spaces for men to express their emotions? We need to normalize men talking about their emotions (whether anger, sadness, grief, anxiety, etc) and being physically affectionate with one another. Biologically, we need physical affection and connection in order to regulate our emotions and increase positive thinking. We (especially other men) need to check on our male friends. I will never stop quoting Jay-Z saying, "Check on your people." We can also share resources (such as therapy and support groups) and stories of high profile men demonstrating vulnerability such as the video of Tyson Fury above, this video of Jay-Z talking about therapy, and this video of Cudi sharing his experience with addiction and depression. You can check out this article for tips on finding a therapist in your area.