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Men's Mental Health.

Do men communicate? No, they don't. And the reason I am talking about men is because the 7 individuals that I know that have committed suicide in less than two years have all been male and 75.1% of suicides in 2021 were male, why is that? Why do you think that is? Is it ego? Are people’s egos too big to be able to go and seek help? Are they afforded somewhere where they can go and talk and vent and get things off their chest? Because I don't think people are, I don’t think men are given that opportunity. Do they bottle things up, do we bottle things up? Certainly do. Do we put things to the back of our minds and hope everything will be okay? Definitely. People that I know that have taken their own lives in the last two years, they were doing well. You know, externally and outside looking in, they were having a great old time, but they were carrying demons, fighting demons, dying inside and that's never ever portrayed. I don't think men like to portray that it. They don't do it. And I don't quite know why.

I think the fact that some of the things I've been through in the last 24 years, well my whole life really, have been pretty horrific, and yet the thought of suicide has never ever entered my head. I've never thought that nothing can be fixed. Everything can be fixed, apart from f***ing death, death doesn't get fixed! Death’s real! You are a long-time f***ing dead. I think my tolerance for trauma is pretty high and I think my tolerance for pressure is pretty high and I count myself lucky for that but what’s traumatic for me may not be traumatic for you and vice versa. I've spent all that time in the army and have left physically and mentally fit, I think that’s only by the grace of God. Self-education has helped also because I've learnt about myself, about my triggers. I’ve learnt about dealing with money, I’ve learnt about fixing problems, I've learnt different communication styles, whether talking in front of a school or in front of a battalion, your just talking, just giving direction. Communicating with your mates, people always say ‘oh, check up on your mates’ but I know for a fact, I could be on my hole right now and if I my real close friends rang me, id be like ‘oh cracker’, I'd be more interested in what they’re doing, I would never consider griping down the phone at them because they’ve got their own issues, they’ve got their own shit going on and there lieth the problem I think.

What about counting, counting all these figures. People that go on social media and state ‘329 soldiers have committed suicide since 1999’, you know, it might be f*ck all to do with being in the army but what it is doing is almost making it socially acceptable, normalising that its ok to kill yourself, well, it's f***ing not. Imagine the grief and the pain and the misery, the guilt of the people you leave behind. People feel guilty. You know, I genuinely think to be honest, that sometimes suicide can lead to suicide, because the people that are left behind, that can take them over the edge sometimes, then pushes them in this dark hole that you've just you've just left, they’ve took your place in it! And how does the guilt go away: I should have seen that, I should have known what he was going through, he was my best mate, he was my brother, he was my son! Well the guilt is something that can be fixed, it can become manageable, everything can become manageable if you learn how to do it, if you learn about yourself and educate yourself on things such as debt, abandonment, victim syndrome, post-traumatic stress. Seek help. I used to say to the lads, don’t be a f***ing hero, get about your business, look after yourselves and the people beside you and don’t worry about the rest. Look in, don’t worry about everything else that is going on around you, be selfish sometimes and focus on you, sort your own shit out before you start worrying about everyone else. Don't take people's pressures on, don't take things personally and I don't mean have a skin of leather but cut sh*t away. That to me is one of the biggest things that I am able to do, I am able to just cut sh*t away and not worry about it again. Anyone died? No? Then this is fixable. Because fixing f***ing death does not happen. Trust me.

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