You know things are not quite right when it becomes necessary to convene a consortium that goes by the name the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (which appears to be a new, improved version of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, referenced above – go figure). Because, let’s face it, when members of our society are increasingly seeing self-murder as a viable solution to life’s ills, it’s time to wake up and take a look at what’s going on.
According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 6,045 suicides in the UK in 2011 among those aged 15 and over, the highest rate since 2004. Of these, men aged 45 to 59 fared the least well – this group scored the highest suicide rate since 1986. So what’s going on with our men?
Research by the Samaritans published in 2012 highlights that some of the reasons why middle-aged men take their own lives include:
- Comparing themselves with other men, who are perceived to be the ‘gold standard’ for power, control and invincibility
- Not being sure about their identity – should they be more like their strong, family-minded fathers or their individualistic, ‘progressive’ sons
- Loss of traditional work roles, with the decimation of the labour market
- Absence of one life-long female partner, on whom they remain overwhelmingly dependent – that is, they are more likely to live alone and lack the social and emotional skills to do so successfully
This strikes me as being extremely sad – must we continue to lose our men to the ravages of cultural feminisation? Whether we like it or not, we are now living in a world in which men are behaving more like women than women – and that’s obviously not to say that there’s anything wrong with being a woman! But what nobody seems to get is that men and women are equal in dignity, but have different and complementary roles to play, roles which are defined by their nature and biology as much as anything.
The other day I was passing through an airport in Eastern Europe and I spied an advertisement for Nivea which would have made me laugh if it didn’t want to make me cry. It was a close-up of two men, lying side by side, faces covered with cold-cream, hair towelled up and cucumber slices on their eyes – in Eastern Europe, for crying out loud! No wonder men are queuing up to hurl themselves into the abyss!
Now I’m not decrying the establishment of government support services for those affected by the tragedy of suicide and I wish the National Suicide Prevention Alliance every success with its new name and tidy cash injection. But if it is not accompanied by a long hard look at what is fuelling this Culture of Death, then I say shoot it now and put it out of its misery.
Written by Jacqui Hogan