Suicide rates in the UK show that it disproportionately affects men, with 75% of suicides in 2020 being males. 

It’s a terribly sad statistic, but maybe not surprising when men typically find it harder to talk about their feelings and ask for help. If you are concerned and want to know how you can proactively support the men around you, we’ve compiled some expert guidance. 

Encouraging conversation

Nicola Peacock, relationship manager at The Printing Charity, is a trained Mental Health First Aider and says the best thing you can do is ask the men around you how they are, and listen to their answers. She also adds that it’s not something you do once, instead you need to normalise talking about feelings openly. 

A useful tool from the training she recommends was the acronym ALGEE, which stands for:

  • Approach the person, assess and assist with any crisis
  • Listen and communicate non-judgmentally
  • Give support and information
  • Encourage the person to get appropriate professional help
  • Encourage other supports

If you need some prompts, Movember Conversations is a great tool to give you confidence when talking to men who may be struggling. You can also point your staff to peer support groups such as Andy’s Man Club which run support groups nationwide

Myths about suicide

During her Mental Health First Aid course, Nicola also learned about suicide and some common myths which are helpful to understand when speaking to anyone in crisis. 

*Myth – if you ask a person about their suicidal intentions, you will encourage the person to kill themselves.

*Fact – The opposite is true, as asking them directly will often lower their anxiety level and act as a deterrent.

*Myth – a person who attempts suicide will always be ‘suicidal’.

*Fact – Most people who are at risk feel suicidal for only a brief period of their lives. With proper assistance and support, they will probably never be suicidal again.

*Adult MHFA Manual (2016 publication)

Appoint a Mental Health First Aider in your organisation

A Mental Health First Aider is someone who can spot the signs and symptoms of ill mental health, which is key to getting people the help they may need. They act as the first point of contact for anyone in the workplace who may be struggling, offering supportive conversations and guidance, helping employees to know they have someone to reach out to. 

There are a few different courses on the MHFA England website, with two days being the typical duration, meaning it’s something manageable for most businesses. Depending on the size of your business, it’s advisable to have more than one first aider so they can support each other in the role.

Rather than selecting Directors or line managers to take on this responsibility, open the offer to the whole team and show your commitment to mental health at every level. 

Organisations that can help

If you’re ever worried that someone’s life is in immediate danger, call 999 or go directly to emergency services. 

As well as talking to your staff as much as possible, there are these organisations you can make sure they are aware of. 

CALM has a helpline and webchat, as well as lots of information and resources. 

Samaritans are available 24 hours, 365 days a year. Just call 116 123

Mind has fantastic crisis tools and a wealth of information and support on its website. 

Movember has a great list of organisations to contact for a variety of issues. 

Our Helpline 

If your organisation is in the wider print industry, our free helpline offers 24/7 access to BACP accredited counsellors to help with in the moment emotional support. Contact us today to find out more about the service and how to register.