[Guest Post by Sara Finkel, Second Year Student Nurse at Bangor University]
Within the United Kingdom, suicide rates of men are at a consistent three times higher than those of their female counterparts. That means that approximately 75% of suicides within the United Kingdom are those of the sons, the husbands and the brothers of this nation, these men are more likely to die through suicide over any other presenting cause of death. This killer affects three times as many men as women within the United Kingdom and yet money spent on treating the leading causes of these suicides is at a minimal in comparison to money provided to treatment and research of other causes of death which, in a manner of speaking, show their symptoms in a more physical and a more `in your face` manner – in the forms of killers such as cancer, of heart disease or via a car accident, to put forward a few examples.
So why, despite these figures of such a killer, is this condition surrounded with so much stigma that it is rarely discussed not only in public but even in a private setting? Throughout recent years I have seen people opening up about the subject of mental health conditions such as depression and while it is still in place, I have noticed a slight reduction of the stigma surrounding these topics. However, while all of this is happening I can`t help but notice that the large majority involved within this amazing and right movement seem to be those of the so-called `fairer sex`, the perceived softer, more emotional and feeling half of society. And while I fully support this movement, what happened to the other half of the living in this world? Is it that because one is born male, that they are robotic with no feeling and thus are not affected by such issues.
For as long as society has been running, there has been a wide and overbearing dictatorship stating that men, that boys are made of `tougher stuff` to their female counterparts, that the hardships of life should be shouldered on strong shoulders which never waver. That is any feelings which a boy or a man has which do not fall into the stiff box of `taking it like a man` which society has created, these should be bottled up and under no circumstances ever be admitted or shown through the cracks, no matter how much it may be ripping a person apart from the inside out until the only option which is left is one of no return.
All that matters is that the infamous stiff upper lip is maintained.
When did we decide that it is ok to allow a person, one of our humankind to face their difficulties alone – doesn`t the saying go that a burden shared is a burden halved? Life is not an easy affair even when everything is flowing along nicely.
I say we are all in this world, on this planet together, with the negativity in the world and the rough and tumble of live overwhelming as they are. Shouldn`t we be lifting each other up in the place of tearing each other down?
Yes, there are more and more people opening up about mental health issues today but yet it is often the case that when men or boys do so they are ridiculed or mocked for not measuring up the to standard society has set, for not being `manly` enough. So, tell me, when did our men evolve into this emotionless robot which does not have emotion of feeling, does not ever feel lonely or feel down, does not have the core of what makes us human?
Enough stigma and discrimination. Health, both from a physical and a mental perspective does not discriminate. Mental health – including that of depression – is not ever a sign of weakness, often it is a sign of a strong person having been strong for too long. So let`s work on stopping this stigma and let us together as one thrive rather than just survive.
– Sara Finkel
Hi! I’m Sara, second year student nurse in adult field at Bangor University in the gorgeous Wales and have somehow survived this far – it was a close shave when I first started because I lost the central vision in my right eye at the beginning of the course but I’m still here and haven’t been kicked out yet! I’m 100% nutty and have lost probably every inch of what sanity I had left during this course but I wouldn’t exchange it for anything else in the world despite having those days where all I want to do is rip our my hair and then hide from the world I’m not 100% sure what I want to specialise in at the moment because I’ve loved everywhere I go but I still have some time to decide so aren’t too worried at the moment. The love of my life outside of this course is my gorgeous staffy ‘Dalia’ and in the little free time that I do get I love obsessing over anything to do with music, Disney or Harry Potter alongside making the most of living on a gorgeous coastline surrounded by mountains with my amazing yet nutty family and friends!