Thursday 22 August 2019

One in four men didn't reach out when they had suicidal thoughts as they thought they'd no one to trust - new report

Picture posed by model.
Picture posed by model.
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

ONE in four men in Ireland did not reach out for help when they had suicidal thoughts in the last 12 months because they had no one to trust, a new report has revealed.

The survey from Samaritans on 500 men found that some 37pc would've felt like a burden if they opened up. 

Participants of the survey, which took place on May 30 – June 3, were aged over 18.

It also found almost six out of ten men who experienced a life crisis in the last year did not seek help, preferring to try and solve the problem themselves.

Meanwhile, more than three in 10 - 36pc - of the men surveyed said they often feel alone, with 28pc stating that loneliness and isolation had made them feel low in the past.

The startling figures emerge as the charity launch their ‘Talk To Us’ campaign today on July 24 to highlight that they are available ‘24/7’ - 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In Ireland today, men remain four times more likely to take their own life than women; in 2016, there were 437 deaths by suicide 350 of which were men, according to the Central Statistics Office

Today, the charity is urging men, who are most at risk of suicide, to seek help and reach out when they are struggling to cope by contacting Samaritans 24/7 on freephone 116 123, text 087 260 9090 or email jo@samaritans.ie.

A volunteer with the support service John Downey said that while 76pc of men now believe it is “okay to say you’re not okay”, there is evidently a large portion of men who still do not speak out in times of trouble.

 “Statistics show that a man is four times more likely to take his own life than a woman. This is a frightening figure. We need to get the message out that it’s okay for men to ask for help either from family, friends, a medical professional or by contacting a support service like Samaritan,” he said. 

“Our survey results found that although 76pc of men say it’s okay to admit you’re not feeling okay, many still avoid speaking out when they’re finding life tough. A quarter felt their problems weren’t important enough to warrant calling a helpline, which is one of the reasons why raising awareness is so important.”

Mr Downey also pointed out that not everyone who contacts the helpline are suicidal.

"The majority of our callers are struggling with everyday worries and axieties and just need someone to listen," he said.

The group have also issued helpful tips under the tagline of SHUSH, to use when helping a friend of family through a difficult time: 

  • Show you care: Focus just on the other person, make eye contact, put away your phone.
  • Have patience: It may take time and several attempts before a person is ready to open up.
  • Use open questions: That need more than a yes/no answer, & follow up e.g. ‘Tell me more’.
  • Say it back: To check you’ve understood, but don’t interrupt or offer a solution.
  • Have courage: Don’t be put off by a negative response and don’t be afraid to leave silence.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article please contact Samaritans helpline 116 123 or Aware helpline 1800 80 48 48 or Pieta House on 1800 247 247.

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