Be there for your friends and loved ones, even when it’s hard and uncomfortable
A reflection from Talena Thorn, Law student at University of Lincoln, about World Suicide Prevention Day
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, every year thousands of people commit suicide and a large proportion of those people are men. Women are actually statistically more likely to suffer from mental health issues and attempted suicides but it is men who are most likely to die when it comes to suicide. There is a lot of pressure on both men and women in society to look and act in a certain way, to adhere to the gender roles society has created. Women are expected to talk about their problems, to show emotion, to seek help even though this is not always the case. When it comes to men there is so much pressure to do the opposite. They are told from a young age that it’s not ok to cry, that they shouldn’t talk about their feelings because it’s a wussy thing, that they should be strong both physically and mentally because that’s what is expected and not conforming to this is met with criticism. This makes it even harder for men to get the help they need, even if it’s just reaching out to someone they know.
As a society we shouldn’t be telling people they shouldn’t be able to reach out, or talk or express themselves. We shouldn’t just turn a blind eye when we know someone is having a hard time. But we do. We worry that it’s not our place to intervene, we convince ourselves that they don’t want our help, we accept the smiles they throw us even though we know they aren’t real, that the person we know is in pain. If I could give one message out on World Suicide Prevention Day it would be, to be there for your friends and loved ones, even when it’s hard and uncomfortable. Even when it’s frustrating, they aren’t mental, they aren’t attention seeking, there’s a person there and they are hurting. If you’re suffering don’t be afraid to reach out to someone whether it’s a professional or someone you love, it’s a hard step to take but everything is easier when you’re not alone. And you never know, they might need your help too.