A recent study by Childline reported how boys are less likely to share their suicidal thoughts than girls.
Childline, a free telephone counselling service, calculated that they received calls from twice as many girls than boys in 2015 and 2016. Suicide rates among boys from ages 10-19 were double that of girls in 2015 alone.
Neil Anderson, head of the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) in Northern Ireland, said, “For boys in particular it can be harder to ask for help due to reluctance to talk about their feelings…”
These statistics are not subject to Northern Ireland alone. In both 2015 and 2016, Childline counselled a total of 11,463 girls and 1,934 boys across the UK. Additionally, 20% of the boys said it was their first time opening up about their issues. The NSPCC is encouraging the Department of Health to take more practical measures for reducing suicide among young people.
“We hope that by putting the spotlight on male suicide we can help boys see that they are not alone. If they can’t talk to friends or parents then Childline is here to listen to them, whenever they need us,” said Anderson.
The Royal family is also calling for this situation to change. Last month, Prince William said male suicide is “an appalling stain on our society,” in a speech addressed to the Guild of Health writers.
Childline is responding by launching a new campaign in order to encourage young males to speak up about suicidal feelings. The campaign, supported by Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, is titled, Tough to Talk and will also feature a film called, Things Guys Don’t Talk About.
What I think
I believe that all suicide is terrible and that practical measures need to be taken to reduce rates. However, there needs to be a special effort made towards young males.
In our society, I think the media plays a large role in influencing how men ‘ought to behave.’ Males who share feelings are are viewed as weak.
We need to work on changing this perception of masculinity and let young men know that sharing their thoughts and feelings doesn’t make them any less of a man, but even more so.
Exposure previously produced a campaign in partnership with CALM to reduce male suicide:
For more information about the Tough to Talk campaign visit: www.childline.org.uk
For more information on how to spot signs of suicidal thoughts visit: Mentalhealth.gov