How to Reach Out – Men
Canadian Mental Health Association (2016) reports that
men die of suicide at a rate four times higher than that of women.
of the primary factors is marital breakdown. Men often feel a sense
of failure and shame when their marriage falls apart. They tend to
feel lonely, and may also have to deal with financial pressures. In
addition, being separated from their children may make them feel sad
factor that can increase men’s risk of suicide, especially in
middle-aged men, is their career. They may feel less useful at work
and may no longer have the necessary knowledge to bring to their
organization in this fast-paced world. They
may fear unemployment or retirement. Without work, many men
lose their sense of identity, and in the same
process may feel like they’re losing their social connections.
also tend to keep their emotions to themselves.
Many find it harder than women to make social connections and often
prefer to work things out by themselves. Some
may also feel ashamed about their feelings.
can you tell if a man in your life might be struggling with his
very important to be alert to changes in behaviour. The following are
a few potential signs to watch for:
in behaviour or regular activities
- Withdrawal from
sleeping, or sleeping far too much
energy and motivation
outbursts of anger, rage or mood swings
- Avoiding family
- Use of alcohol
- Overuse of
- Change in
physical health and/or hygiene
- Loss of
appetite or overeating
(thinking and talking about death)
experienced a suicide by a family member/friend
can you do if you notice a change in a person’s behaviour?
you have noticed some of the warning signs mentioned above or others,
it’s important to talk with the person about what specific changes
you have noticed. Try to remain caring, open and supportive.
- Write down what
you want to say
- Think about
what you would do and prepare yourself if the person has a negative
- Find out about
mental health resources in your community
to others who are in contact with the person in question more
regularly (such as a friend/spouse/co-worker, etc.) to see if they
have noticed similar changes and behaviours
- Talk to other
people who may have dealt with similar situations
an appropriate time and place to have the conversation
Talk About It
Here are a few
things to keep in mind during the conversation:
about the changes you have noticed. Keep
it short and give the person the opportunity to think about what was
said. Make sure you set a time to talk about it later on. But if you
feel the person might do something drastic, do not leave them alone.
support. The person needs to feel your
calm. Don’t take things personally. The
person may do or say things out of anger or disbelief. Help the
person find someone he may be more comfortable with, if he doesn’t
feel at ease talking to you. Men might feel more comfortable
speaking with another male. They may also be open to speak to a
counselor or their doctor.
open-minded and non-judgmental. Replace
“You have everything,” “Look at all the people who love you”
and “You will find another job” with “I am here for you,”
“No matter what you are going through, I can help you” and “I
love you/care about you.”
the door open for further conversation. No
matter the time of day, it’s important to be there for the person.
It often takes great courage for them to open up about their issues.
give up. Don’t accept the answer that
“nothing is wrong” if your instinct is telling you otherwise. Be
persistent, but in a loving/caring way.
them with help. Offer to accompany them if
care of yourself. Helping out a depressed
or suicidal person can be very stressful. Make sure you get support
for yourself, whether it be friends, family, health care providers,
You are not responsible for anyone who chooses to take their own
you’re worried that the person might be suicidal, call the Mental
Health Crisis Line at 1 866 996-0991. If you feel the person is in
danger of taking their life, call 9-1-1.