Come on men, let's talk!

Catherine and I have taken time off this week for a local holiday, hence in part why this blog post is later than the usual Tuesday posting. I will keep this blog post short as I don’t have a polished piece ready to share. In honesty it is a rough hewn piece of writing, which will come later when I’ve refined my thinking on it. Instead I thought I would update you on my book series “Tom’s Ten”.

This month’s book is number 9 of Tom’s Ten. The focus of the book is men’s mental health and it is called “why don’t men talk? a door to deeper conversation”. The reason I chose to write this now is because of my own mental health experience and the struggle to talk about anything below surface level. That is until this year when I began to get regular therapy. As a result of which I have gradually opened up like some kind of human clam. The process I've been through got me interested in why so many men clearly struggle to communicate their worries, challenges, emotions or anything deeper than the sports score. In order to get a few different perspectives I have asked friends and colleagues to contribute what they believe may hold men back from talking.

To me it is clear that we have a problem. You only need to look at the fact that suicide is one of the leading causes of death for men under 45 in the U.K, U.S, and Australia*. If we just take Australia (where I live) as an example here are some sobering facts:

  • Nine Australians die every day by suicide. That’s more than double the road toll.

  • 75% of those who take their own life are male.

  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15 and 44.

  • The suicide rate in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is twice that of their non-Indigenous counterparts.

  • People in rural populations are 2 times more likely to die by suicide.

  • LGBTI+ community members experience significantly higher rates of suicide than the rest of the population.

  • For each life lost to suicide, the impacts are felt by up to 135 people, including family members, work colleagues, friends, first responders at the time of death.

Despite having had personal experience with both mental illness and suicide it still shocks me to read these statistics. How have we gotten to this point? Well I won't say it is only down to men's lack of communication, but it certainly doesn't help. So here I am once again writing about an issue close to my heart in the hope that it can help others to talk sooner. I hope that you'll join me in reading the finished product at the end of this month and sharing it with others. The only way we can make a change to these statistics is through open, honest communication.

I’ll be back on your screens very shortly with this month’s health newsletter. If you’d like to subscribe to that or these blog posts please visit my website.

Until then stay sane and healthy,

Tom :)

*Here are the official statistic sources if you'd like to check them out