People have been sharing photos on Facebook to raise awareness about suicide rates among men.
Social media is so good for raising awareness and spreading it for issues like this because the statistics tell a story:
- The suicide rates among men increased by 10.9% in the UK in 2018
- The rates among young men under-25 increased by 23.7%
- The WHO reports that suicide represents half of all male violent deaths worldwide
But I think we need to be careful and consistent in the way we cultivate our presence online.
Just a few weeks ago, I saw people on Twitter, after the tragic death of Caroline Flack, speaking out about the online abuse she received and how we don’t really know what’s really going on in someone’s life.
Yet, fast forward a few weeks and the same people are mocking Chris Witty, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, during the COVID-19 daily updates for the way he looks and speaks . It seems we can have a very short term memory in the way we speak about other people.
It’s crucial that we create spaces for people to feel comfortable talking about their mental health.
But we all have a responsibility to speak with kindness and reach out to those around us who may be struggling in a way we know nothing about.