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How men can feel more open about themselves when talking about suicide prevention



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While it is becoming increasingly common for men to be open to their feelings and emotions, there is one aspect of mental health that is rarely addressed when asked to do so: suicide. It makes sense why not talk about it – it’s a very uncomfortable subject.

Christine Moutier, MD, the chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, recently had a chat with Dr. Gregory Scott Brown, MD, on the particularly touchy subject, in which she admitted that having difficulty discussing suicide is a problem that most people have trouble navigating, not just men.

“As humans, men and women, we all fight at different times,” she says. “Thoughts of suicide and everything on that spectrum are actually so much more common than any of us really realize, and these things can and should be talked about.”

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According to Dr. Moutier, men are three and a half times more likely to fight these types of thoughts than women. She suspects this is because women were brought up to talk to other women about their emotional problems. Men, unfortunately, do not have the same luxuries, which can lead to the suppression of their innermost feelings, especially the darker, scary ones. It can often lead men to experience frustrations and other physical symptoms such as sexual dysfunction.

“The idea that men don’t talk about these things and don’t get therapy – that’s no longer true,” emphasizes Dr. Moutier. “Men absolutely use the therapy and can benefit enormously from it.”

While it remains stigmatized to make men feel comfortable discussing their feelings, it is important to make the conversation about suicide prevention less taboo among men’s communities. Are there certain ways to spot someone who might get into trouble? Yes, says Dr. Foutier, and she has some recommendations.

The first thing people should look out for is changing their loved one’s behavior, such as changing their sleep pattern or excluding them from social activities. When red flags are hoisted, it is important to become a safety net for those suffering from troubled thoughts. By supporting them and allowing them to enter into an emotional dialogue, people can change the way that others (especially men) can feel open to their sanity.

“By the way, if you talk openly about your own mental health at all, after seeing a therapist, you will shape the culture,” says Dr. Foutier. “If this is an open topic, this is an excellent starting point to normalize the conversation about the struggle and get the help we need at different times.”

It takes a second before continuing. “We all have to deal with mental health, whether we have mental illness or not.”

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