Samstag, August 16, 2014

Tod Robin Williams weckt Aufmerksamkeit für Selbstmord als Männerproblem

Der britische Guardian berichtet:

Last week, millions were shocked by the suicide of beloved actor Robin Williams. The aftermath has provoked a long-neglected debate about mental health and suicide.

A cursory look at the statistics in Britain suggests it is dearly needed. Suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20 and 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. It is also predominantly a male disorder. Of the 5,981 suicides in 2012, an astonishing 4,590 (76%) were men. And yet while Britain has high-profile campaigns on, say, testicular cancer or driving safely, the biggest killer of men under 50 is not getting the attention it deserves.

Jane Powell is the founder and director of Calm, the Campaign Against Living Miserably, which specifically deals with male suicide. "If you're a mum, a dad, a loved one, you want to worry about the biggest threat," she says. "And yet we worry about assault levels, rather than the real killer – suicide." She makes a provocative case: that while breast cancer does kill men, we rightly focus on it as a female disease. In the same way, suicide prevention has to focus on men. "We need to name the issue," she says.

Why are so many more men killing themselves than women? "Is it biologically set in stone that men take their own lives – or is it cultural?" Powell asks. "If you look at how the suicide rates have changed, how they go up and down, you can see that it's cultural – it's about what we expect." And this is what is so troubling about male suicide. Women are actually more likely to suffer from depression, but more likely to seek help whey encounter trouble. The uncomfortable truth is that stereotypical forms of masculinity – stiff upper lips, "laddishness" – are killing men.

(...) This type of male identity is cemented at a very young age. According to research by the LGB charity Stonewall, 98% of gay pupils and 95% of teachers hear "that's so gay" or "you're so gay" at school; nearly as many hear "dyke" or "poof" thrown around as insults. "It's so much wider than gay or bisexual men," says Stonewall's spokesman Richard Lane. "Men hear 'man up' and 'stop being such a poof'. It's a real barrier in talking about mental health issues."

Rather than being entirely about anti-gay hatred, there is an element of "gender policing", of abuse directed at men who do not conform to a stereotype of masculinity.

(...) According to research by Samaritans, those in the poorest socioeconomic circumstances are 10 times more likely to kill themselves than those in the most affluent. Both men and women experience poverty, of course – but it is men who are more likely to kill themselves if they are poor.

And the help simply is not there for men, even if they seek it. When Ant Meads finally saw the doctor who instantly recognised his OCD and began a referral for specialist care, he faced a nine-month wait. "Imagine you're suicidal, you need to see a psychiatrist, and you're told the current waiting list is nine months. How do people cope?" Meads is adamant that he would not be alive had his employer not referred him to private healthcare. He believes there needs to be far more government investment and a national advertising blitz about men and mental health.

Hier findet man den vollständigen Artikel.


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