• Recent studies show that males aged between 20 and 49 are more likely to die from suicide than any other single form of death

  • Depression is often at the root of suicidal thoughts and attempts – so what are the warning signs we can look out for?

  • If you are living with suicidal thoughts, or are worried about a loved one, find a therapist here

Those who feel they need to be strong for others at whatever cost to themselves are most at risk of becoming depressed. And when depression takes a hold, suicidal thoughts may develop. Men often find it embarrassing to talk about how they feel. Especially, one suspects, when they don’t see themselves as being ‘strong enough’. After all, aren’t they supposed to be the ‘strong’ gender?

When clients say they are feeling ‘suicidal’ they are often suffering from long-term depression. They can see no future. The light at the end of the dark tunnel has gone off. And they don’t know when – or if – if will come on again.This dark place can seem very alienating. It can be a lonely place to be.

When this stage is reached, people often stop looking after themselves. They can become withdrawn and reclusive. Or violent and aggressive. They often feel isolated and trapped inside. They may use substances or develop behaviours which can become addictive. They may feel dis-engaged from the very people and interests which have kept them engaged in day-to-day living.

Lost and bewildered, there seems to be only one way out. Down. They are in their own prison. It can feel like solitary confinement. Internal anger changes into despair and a sense of hopelessness.

Making a decision to seek therapy and actually coming for an initial consultation when the future seems very bleak indeed may feel like an impossible feat. Yet it can be a small step when we start to learn that as a man it is okay to seek support – the world doesn’t come to an end. But the pain inside may be easing just a touch.

A good therapist is supportive, non-judgmental, compassionate, accepting. An effective therapist enables those in distress to disclose how they feel. The client permits the therapist to shine a light into their darkness. It may only be a shimmer of light. And it may disappear for a while. It can actually be a start to the healing process.

Further reading

Are more men seeing therapists?

Why do men struggle to express their feelings?

I lost my dad to suicide: now I'm trying to help others

Talk about your mental health: people will listen