a depressed middle aged man

Are you a middle aged man in mid-life crisis or has your partner been acting strange lately?

You or your loved one might be at risk! The shocking fact is ‘middle aged men are more at risk of attempting or completing suicide’. Samaritans, a confidential emotional support service, raises this awareness in their current campaign ‘We’re in your corner’ free (pdf) research report – ‘Men, Suicide and Society’.

Every suicide is a tragedy, affecting not only their close friends and relatives but sometimes extended to many people in communities. In many cases the reasons for the suicide remains a mystery, nobody knows it’s going to happen, most people who complete suicide don’t leave any notes and left their peers wonder ‘Why?’.

What ever the problem is, they keep it  to themselves. This adds more weight to their perception that no one could help or understand them, which is really sad because there are always people who can help, whatever the problem is.

Reasons why men are more at risk of committing suicide:

  • Men tend to be competitive, highly self critical and judge themselves on their peers attributes, they generally like to be seen as in control and invincible
  • Middle aged men are living in a changing world as far as what being a man means. They may feel lost in two worlds. The first , like their fathers and grandfathers, the strong silent type of man who just put up with and got on with things. The second, the younger, more progressive, more caring (at least on the outside) modern man, maybe they see these attributes in their sons or grandchildren and feel like dinosaurs.
  • A lot of the traditional career roles and manual work has disappeared and some men find this difficult, a life long manual worker may find it very challenging to work in a call center for example.
  • Generally men are much less likely to ask for help than women, much less likely to talk to friends about personal worries and very reluctant to talk to a professional or seek medical or psychological support than women.

This makes dealing with life, it’s pressures and challenges more of a problem for men who isolate themselves and create inner tension which may result in those ‘no way out’ feelings. Men’s support structures are under used and in the past men found it difficult to ask for help.

How to identify if your partner feels suicidal – Are you or your partner at risk of attempting or completing suicide or suicide ideation?

  • The inability to enjoy activities which would usually have been enjoyed
  • A lack of interest in general
  • Insomnia – Unable to sleep, irregular sleep pattern, sleeping too much
  • Isolating themselves, staying away from other people
  • Hopelessness, a sense of nothing is going their way
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Severe agitation, everything is a bother, or the opposite an unusual calmness
  • Panic attacks
  • Severe remorse or guilt feelings
  • Self harming or previous attempted suicide attempts

If you are worried about someone displaying these symptoms, talk to them and share your worries with a professional you trust.

Men are getting better generally at coping with despair, but the latest statistics prove that men are still more at risk. Men do share more these days, this is in part due to technological advances in how many reach out and ask for help. Men find it much easier to talk to a professional counsellor via the internet online, than they do talking to a face to face counsellor. This highlights men’s difficulties in sharing problems they have in their lives, putting them at higher risk of suicide.

The rise in online counselling and life coaching for men has been dramatic, this model of therapy is now supporting and helping more and more men, in a way that seems to strike a chord with men. The other factor is that more and more men are choosing the helping profession, more evidence that men are sharing more and isolating themselves less.

There are signs that things are improving in terms of how men share there feelings, but that is largely dependent on the individual.

Written by – Paul Parkin – Online counsellor, therapist and life coach. 

‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’

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Author Bio

Online counselling with UK qualified counsellor Paul ParkinPaul Parkin Dip. Coun. I am a counsellor, therapist and life coach. I am passionate about helping people who are hurting or in crisis. My goal is to help people reach their full potential by providing affordable counselling online to people everywhere via my counselling website – Counsellors Online.

I have worked as a counsellor for the past 11 years, I have worked in several counselling settings, including – The National Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) the NHS. North East Council on Addictions (NECA) and Several telephone helplines including The Samaritans.

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