In the Media

Men are at increased risk of suicide & need to know it’s okay to talk. YOU TUBE clip . Watch with care on Sep 10, 2014 A ” MIND ” PUBLICATION

*Please take care if you decide to watch this video, it necessarily contains discussion of suicidal feelings.*

Men are at particular risk of suicide. In this video Lee, Rohan and Graham talk about the specific difficulties around being a man and feeling suicidal.

You can watch a video about suicide generally here

It’s so difficult to talk about if you haven’t got the right people to talk to about it. I come from … Well, it’s a working class background. My granddad worked in the pits. My dad started as an electrical engineer. I’ve been brought up that we don’t express emotion, because of I’ve never told anyone that I’ve had suicidal thoughts. I’ve told them recently, but for a long long time, as a man, you just don’t.

I grew up playing high level of sport, both within school and … level. So again, I was exposed to that quite unforgiving environment of a sports dressing room. You multiply that, as well, with a room full of adolescents young males. It just wasn’t a place where you expressed or admitted any type of weakness. So what I did, I started internalizing, hiding everything. And then you just showed up, you smiled, and you just got on with it.

You develop this facade, don’t you?

Yeah, and I think it’s a bit of a West-Indian thing as well. It’s; these things stay between four walls. So I just got used to, again, that whole internalizing. You don’t talk about this to the outside world. This is something we deal with … For want of a business way putting it, we deal with this in-house.

There are instances absolutely where males
will have a set of challenges and they’ll be ashamed to open up, and they’ll be ashamed to open up in… They are the crutch to the family, they will take on themselves to be the crouch of the family, the bread-winner, the support, the main man in the house.

And I think it brings its own pressures. I come from a family, a mother and a father, who divorced when I was 4, both with their own mental health issues. My dad was quite open and honest about so he would say, “I’m going to kill myself. I wish I had the balls to kill myself.” While my mom was just completely this nervous wreck of … Kind of kept in, restricted, kind of frailty that she had, that kind of lived over in her head.

How does that affect you as a young guy, like 6-7 years old, when you hear your dad saying, “I want to kill myself.” I can’t begin to imagine.

It just seems, at the time, it was just normal, it was the way life was. And over the years you can kind of become a default person of what you experience as a child, and that becomes you. It really didn’t take much by the time I got to my mid-twenties, to kind of set me off on my own issues. Because it was normal for that to happen.

I got to the stage where I almost went the other way. I take responsibility for everything. I refuse to put blame on even things which actually have had a very big impact on your life. So I always felt, if you turn around and say that your mental illness is because of your parents’ divorce, you’re saying that none of it is your fault and it’s all your parents’ fault. But, again, when I started seeing a counselor and began to unpack everything, he said, “Look, just look at it in plain obvious facts.” It started unraveling for you, the depression kicked in at that time.

A long time ago.

Stop being so hard on yourself and actually understand …

That sounds … I think we can all …

It’s a case of not being hard on yourself. It is exactly that. When my consultant pointed out key events and said, “The key events are your manic triggers, Lee,” I put them together. It sits in the timeline. I couldn’t have this conversation with my mates in the pub. I couldn’t do it. Because you can’t say to him, “How you feeling? We had a good day.”

I must have, I’m not the normal. I just happened to have a few powers I could do. But listen I can totally relate to that. It’s more by coincidence or anything else.

I can do now, but back then …

The big reason why a lot of my mates can talk to me now is because I opened with them first. It’s about making the first move. I needed to talk to people. You probably do find that the more you talk to people, the more you get it back.

Nonprofits & Activism

Standard YouTube License