Three steps people think would help prevent male suicide
On average 13 men take their life through suicide every day in the UK alone. This month, the Movember campaign sees people across the country raising funds to help stop men dying too young. We spoke to a local Healthwatch to hear what people think could help tackle this issue.
When their local council started to make a plan on preventing suicide, Healthwatch Wandsworth wanted to hear what people thought could help deal with the issue.
In Wandsworth three out of four suicide victims are men, so the local Healthwatch were particularly interested to find out the views of this group.
Understanding the barriers
After speaking to people who had been affected by suicide about their views on using services, Healthwatch Wandsworth discovered that people had experienced barriers to getting help.
Firstly, they found that only 6 in 10 people were aware of the services available to support people at risk of suicide. Some individuals also said that it was difficult to access services and get an appointment when they needed it most.
Secondly, some people reported that there was a stigma attached to mental health issues and talking about them. Over 50% of people they spoke to thought that stories about suicide in the media were generally unsympathetic, which could add to the stigma.
Three ways people thought services could change to help reduce male suicides
Raising awarenessProviding more information through public campaigns would help friends and family to recognise when someone is struggling and offer support.
Removing the stigmaChanging the way that suicide is discussed would help to remove the stigma and stop men having to cope with the issue alone. People also thought that it was important to recognise that men often deal with mental health issues through anger or alcohol addiction.
Improving local servicesTo help men get the support they need, it should be easier to access services, and GPs should recognise underlying concerns when men are not open about their issues. People also thought that men should have somewhere to turn that was less about ‘suicide prevention’ and more about having a male-only space where they could talk about their problems in an open and accepting environment.
Healthwatch Wandsworth were able to share people's views with the council to help inform its plan on preventing suicide. The plan outlines a number of ways the council want to help tackle the issue in the future. These include improving access to local services, crisis care, better information and also challenging the stigma associated with mental illnesses.
If you are feeling suicidal or you are worried that someone you know may be considering taking their own life, there are people you can speak to who can help.
Find your local Healthwatch
If you have an idea about how services can change to prevent suicide, speak to your local Healthwatch.