September is Suicide Prevention Month, a chance to raise awareness of mental health issues and resources available for those who are at risk for suicide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that over 41,000 lives were lost to suicide in 2013. Suicide disproportionally affects men, who are about 4 times more likely to take their own lives than women.

Many experts consider suicide to be 100% preventable. The problem isn’t treatment; it is creating an environment where people feel comfortable seeking treatment, especially men. According to a new poll recently released by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, only 64% of men would tell someone if they were considering suicide compared to 70% of women.

“Men are taught from a very young age that if it hurts they should suck it up and that big boys don’t cry. The problem with this is that they carry that mentality from benign conditions such as bruises and scrapes to more serious ones like heart issues and thoughts of suicide,” said Brandon Leonard, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Men’s Health Network. “Suicide prevention is going to start with us creating a culture where men feel more comfortable seeking and accepting help.”

There are several resources available for men who want to learn more about mental health anonymously.

A detailed guide specifically for men dealing with depression, stress, and anxiety can be found at  http://www.menshealthnetwork.org/library/ownersmanual.pdf

Men and women can also asses their risk by using free online screenings provided by Mental Health America: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/mental-health-screening-tools

Men looking for more information about a variety of health conditions can visit the Men’s Health Resource Center.

Individuals at immediate risk can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
1-800-273-8255

Men's Health Network (MHN) is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to reach men, boys, and their families where they live, work, play, and pray with health awareness messages and tools, screening programs, educational materials, advocacy opportunities, and patient navigation. MHN is the promoter of Men’s Health Month and Men’s Health Week in June. Learn more about MHN at www.menshealthnetwork.org and follow us on Twitter @MensHlthNetwork and Facebook at www.facebook.com/menshealthnetwork.