Because of its wide-spread publicity, most people are aware of the 20 to 22-per-day suicide statistic involving military veterans. However, they may not be aware of our nation’s suicide epidemic as a whole, inclusive of all people from all walks of life. Especially, men.
Every day a staggering average of 121 Americans succumb to their demons by choosing to call life quits. Of these 121 victims, 93 of them are men. To be even more specific, 7 out of ten are white, and the overwhelming majority are between the ages of 45 and 65.
Chances are, if a man’s life is going to go in the proverbial crapper, diarrhea will grip hold once middle age has fed him a steady diet of complacency and he’s had to loosen his belt a few times. Marriages fall apart. Jobs go south. Illnesses and injuries take their toll from years of backbreaking labor, or from sitting stationary behind a desk for too many years with no exercise. Current finances don’t equal the mounting bills.
But most of these things can also happen to women, can’t they? They can and they do, but perhaps the male psyches belief of the weight of the world resting squarely on its shoulder plays an important role. They are the designated leader of the species. There are expectations to be met. Whatever the reasoning happens to be, statistics don’t lie.
It’s also of interest how women suicide victims generally opt for a kinder, gentler, less messy method of exiting, such as pills and/or alcohol. A good 85 to 90% of men choose to pull a trigger.
The male ego will seldom seek help. Men have no desire to discuss their supposed failures, or whatever has them spiraling headfirst down a darkened path. It will not be displayed for the public’s viewing pleasure. To the shock of anyone who knew them, they will all say they never saw it coming.
Why more white men commit suicide than any other race is not a statistic anyone has a viable explanation for. We’ll skip the issue since we all know the old adage concerning opinions.
Since men are often pigheaded and prideful, present company included, they bear a watchful eye, especially if you know things aren’t going so well for them. If even the slightest of indications leads you to think something serious is going on, do the simplest yet most caring act you can. Ask. Even if you receive a standard everything’s okay reply, at least make them aware of your willingness to listen. Don’t be afraid to make others close to the person aware of your concerns, but do so delicately and with privacy.
Be observant for changes in someone’s demeanor. Have they become withdrawn? Are they abusing harmful substances, to include hitting the bottle hard? Are they ignoring their appearance or even their cleanliness?
There is a misconception about the credentials needed to lift someone from the pits of hell. One need not hold a Ph.D. or be a certified clinician. A genuine concern and a compassionate heart are what they initially need. The Doc can give them anti-depressants, you can give them love and understanding. If a person is on the brink of suicide, they will require both, and possibly more. But it begins with a helping hand from an observant friend or relation. Be that person.