Losing a Friend – Male Suicide – The Silent Killer - What signs to look for.

in #life5 years ago (edited)


Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in countries around the world. One person takes their own life every 40 seconds. This equates to over 800,000 deaths by suicide across the world every year. 70-80% of all suicide deaths are male.

In Australia:

  • Suicide is the largest single killer of men under the age of 44.
  • One third of all deaths by young men is due to suicide.
  • Close to 80% of all suicides in Australia are Men.
  • The suicide rate is the highest it has been in the past decade.

In the US:

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death
  • Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women.
  • White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2015.
  • Firearms account for almost 50% of all suicides
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle age — white men in particular. Source
These statistics are not just confined to Australia and the USA but are repeated in many countries all across the world.


Why are suicide rates much higher in Males?

One of the biggest issues facing men is that the help is often just not there. Things have improved over the past decade, but seeking assistance is not something men will do. ‘She’ll be right’ is a common response for many Australian men.

"It's the idea that to be a man is to be tough, to be strong, to be invulnerable, to be heterosexual, to be in control, to avoid feelings, and so on. The pressure on men to be stoic can "stuff up men's physical and emotional health".
Dr Flood, Huffington Post

Women are actually more likely to suffer from depression, but more likely to seek help when they encounter trouble. The uncomfortable truth is that stereotypical forms of masculinity are killing men.

In the late 1990s, it was men in their 20s who were most at risk from suicide; today it is men in their 40s. It's the same cohort, and is evidence of "scarring": of being unemployed at a young age, and suffering from long-term consequences, including higher rates of unemployment and lower wages in later life, as well as mental distress. SOURCE

Why do I have such a passion for raising awareness of Male Suicide? The answer is I lost a great friend to suicide. It’s a hard story to tell, but an important one for me to give you context and the reasons why awareness of this issue is needed.

Let me tell you his story:

Brad’s Story

Brad and I were childhood mates. We had known each other since the beginning of the fourth grade. We loved kicking the footy and running amok. I would ride up the hill from my house to hang out with him. We would play the old Nintendo 64, Donkey Kong, I think and muck around on the farm. We would sometimes head down to the quarry at the end of his street on weekends and pretend we were driving the trucks and front-end loaders, everything was always unlocked in the early 90’s.

I remember finding some nudey mags one weekend in one of the trucks, Playboy it think, and Brad and I taking them to high school to share with all of our mates. The next weekend we all headed back up to the quarry to look for some more ‘paper porn’, only to find that the ‘smoko’ room had been left unlocked and there was a fridge full of cold beer inside. That was my first experience of getting drunk, and it was Brad’s too. We were only 13 years old.

Brad loved bodyboarding and we both made it into the state schoolboys finals. We got to head down to Clifton Beach near Hobart, sleep in a scout hall, accidentally smashing one of the windows and then place in the final of the competition the next day.

Me surfing in the Competition at Clifton Beach (circa. 1994)

Brad and I took the same Agricultural studies course in Year 12. I would pick him up each morning in my orange Holden Torana and we’d head off the school. We planted the idea of growing opium poppies on the school’s agricultural plot (legally of course), in the teachers head, which earnt the school around $30,000. This gave us free reign when we took on our big investigation for the year and started the Rainbow Trout breeding program at the school. It cost a mint to get it up and running and it is still going to this very day.

Me and the old Torana

After year 12, I left for University and Brad went onto TAFE to further his agricultural studies. I didn’t get to see him much as I moved 3 hours away from him and we both found steady girlfriends, but we caught up as much as we could.

One weekend I went around to his house for a few beers and he didn’t seem the normal happy-go-lucky guy he normally was. He seemed a bit withdrawn and didn’t talk as much as he usually did. I asked if he was ok and he said he was. I didn’t think anything of it at the time and I headed back to university the next day thinking nothing of it.

Two weeks later I got a call from my mother. She told me that Brad had broken up with his girlfriend the week after I last saw him. After a few days of Brad’s Dad not being able to get him on the phone, he went around to see Brad to see how he was doing.

There he found Brad hanging from a rope in his lounge room dead. That was 20 years ago this year. We were only 19 years old.

There were no signs of depression or anything else that had alerted his family that anything was this seriously wrong. They knew he had a relationship breakup but thought he was handling it ok.

I always think to myself, what could I have done? Why didn’t I notice the signs? What if… What if…..

Suicide Warning Signs

There are many comprehensive lists to be found, but I particularly like the list below from Webmd on Recognising Suicidal Behaviour.

Any of the following could be potential warning signs for suicide:

  • Excessive sadness or moodiness: Long-lasting sadness, mood swings, and unexpected rage.
  • Hopelessness: Feeling a deep sense of hopelessness about the future, with little expectation that circumstances can improve.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Sudden calmness: Suddenly becoming calm after a period of depression or moodiness can be a sign that the person has made a decision to end his or her life.
  • Withdrawal: Choosing to be alone and avoiding friends or social activities also are possible symptoms of depression, a leading cause of suicide. This includes the loss of interest or pleasure in activities the person previously enjoyed.
  • Changes in personality and/or appearance: A person who is considering suicide might exhibit a change in attitude or behaviour, such as speaking or moving with unusual speed or slowness. In addition, the person might suddenly become less concerned about his or her personal appearance.
  • Dangerous or self-harmful behaviour: Potentially dangerous behaviour, such as reckless driving, engaging in unsafe sex, and increased use of drugs and/or alcohol might indicate that the person no longer values his or her life.
  • Recent trauma or life crisis: A major life crises might trigger a suicide attempt. Crises include the death of a loved one or pet, divorce or break-up of a relationship, diagnosis of a major illness, loss of a job, or serious financial problems.
  • Making preparations: Often, a person considering suicide will begin to put his or her personal business in order. This might include visiting friends and family members, giving away personal possessions, making a will, and cleaning up his or her room or home. Some people will write a note before committing suicide. Some will buy a firearm or other means like poison.
  • Threatening suicide: From 50% to 75% of those considering suicide will give someone -- a friend or relative -- a warning sign. However, not everyone who is considering suicide will say so, and not everyone who threatens suicide will follow through with it. Every threat of suicide should be taken seriously.


Suicide prevention, particularly for males, is something, that until recently, has not garnered the attention or focus is needs.

It is a ‘Silent Killer’

There are now many organisations that deal with and address suicidal tendencies but if no-one seeks help, it is usually too late.

If you have a mate or family member you are concerned about, please take a look at the following pages, or contact the relevant authority in your country.

Further Information:

Suicide Prevention
Recognising Suicide Warning Signs
Suicide Prevention: What are the Warning Signs
About Suicide: Warning Signs, Risk Factor, Protective Factors

A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn't mean that help isn't wanted or needed. People who take their lives just want to stop hurting.

Suicide prevention starts with recognising the warning signs and taking them seriously. It is up to us to keep an eye on our friends and family. Men rarely seek help or want to talk about their feelings.

Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.

Please resteem and spread awareness of this 'silent killer' affecting our society today.

Thanks for reading.

scooter77 footer ta - bearone.png


I want to share my experience with suicide here

Around 5 years ago my father found my stepmother dead in their bed.

There were stuff going on between both I dont want to get into it.

3 month later my aunt calls me telling me my father was found dead at home after taking pills.

Within those 3 month I kind of looked after him. I pretty much stayed the first 3 weeks with him to help with the funeral stuff etc.
I was studying in another city at this time and went home for the weekends to look after him after. I had in mind he might do something stupid but my stepmother walked the way of st james in stages and could never finish it. My father was determined to finish this for her and I thought we were save till he finished this task.
The tipping point was the death of my stepmothers cat, I guess he felt that was the last connection.

The 3 month between both deaths were very hard for me. As I was griefing myself I wanted to be strong for my father. After a while I needed a break and left him a bit more for himself, since I thought he was doing a bit better and I was fatigued.
The feeling to left him alone and therefore the feeling I was responsibile with my weakness haunted me for years.

So many what ifs...

The thing about suicide is whatever gets you to this point you dont get it out from this world, you just pass it on to your friends and family.

@flipstar thank you for sharing your story. It means a lot to me that you would reply to this post with such openness. I hope you are in a better place now and although it was hard for me in the beginning, time heals all wounds, however the memories never fade.

I self medicated afterwards pretty heavily to try and forget, but I regret that as I didn't properly connect with my other mates who were hurting too. Suicide touches many lives and I hope that this post raises awareness within this community at least. Thanks for reading and taking the time to respond.

I am doing much better but sometimes the blues hits me.

please dont get this wrong but in a strange way I am almost happy it happens. I came out stronger then I ever could have. I tried to medicate myself with the bottle and this didnt work and some pills(described by a doctor) which didnt help either.

I had still enough fight in me left to not accept that life has to be like this and started to experiment with meditation, reading self-help books, learning about productivity. Just starting to grow again if you know what I mean.

I am still not where I want to be and from time to time I still need to lick my wounds but I am on my path and my legs feel stronger every day.

Sorry for your loss.

this is a really sad thing in this world. I blame centrally controlled governments, banks, corporations and mass media for this. If we are living in a more and more decentralized world, everyone takes over more responsibility for himself and for his friends and family and stops chasing these fake goals like: big car, Gucci clothes, Starbucks coffee, etc. but real values and confidence in people, personality & community.

Great movie to watch in that context:

Thanks for reading and taking the time to reply. Trying to raise awareness of the symptoms and hopefully people will be more aware.

Really great post mate. I too knew someone at the gym I used to go to who made exactly the same decision that Brad did. It's chilling. Sobering. Like you described, the signs are often subtle or just not there at all. I remember laughing with him one night at the gym prior.

I think it's important to recognise the fact that males largely feel a responsibility to provide or to be employed or to meet certain social frameworks or standards. When difficulty arises in matching this expectation there can be an element I think of shame or something perhaps deeper still whereby a male can feel worthless or like a failure for not earning enough or working at all or whatever it is.

I tend to think that females are less anchored to the expectations of gender roles and that's possibly got something to do with the statistics.

Thanks for sharing this difficult topic.

I'm so sorry. I have lost 2 family members to suicide over my lifetime. It is an extremely hard thing to go through for the family left behind. Thanks for posting the warning signs.

Thank you for taking the time to read.

This unfortunately has occurred twice to my sister while at college. Two of her friends ended their lives and it has forever changed our family. We never met these friends, but the pain my sister went through has left marks in our hearts forever. The what if questions, the could have thoughts, and ultimately the never leaving anything unsaid. It's a tough process. Thanks for sharing and bring awareness.

Thanks for reading. It's awareness programs like these that I hope I can use this platform to spread. And thanks for sharing some of your story too.

It's a state of mind, many humans are looking for help in self-destructive process it's the natural purpose of sadness, warning signs to a friend are the easiest and more sure to detect.

To not confound with personality traits or hard-truth side-effect, theses two often induce a long term true happiness.

I had a friend who was in such a state of mind, I told him what I was thinking about his situation without fearing his reaction and without over-speaking. I think he appreciated simplicity and honesty.

Staying simple and free, viewing things from above are powerful keys.

Thanks for sharing. Even though it is hard, particularly as a male, speaking out is important. Thanks for taking the time to read too.

Congratulations! This post has been upvoted from the communal account, @minnowsupport, by scooter77 from the Minnow Support Project. It's a witness project run by aggroed, ausbitbank, teamsteem, theprophet0, and someguy123. The goal is to help Steemit grow by supporting Minnows and creating a social network. Please find us in the Peace, Abundance, and Liberty Network (PALnet) Discord Channel. It's a completely public and open space to all members of the Steemit community who voluntarily choose to be there.

If you like what we're doing please upvote this comment so we can continue to build the community account that's supporting all members.

I have nine children, two of whom are teenagers. The thought of finding one of them like you friend's dad found him shakes me to the very core. Thank you for posting this.

My two cents: For the most part, the west has forsaken the wisdom of ages. In school we are taught that we are just another animal, an accident of random chance, and there is no greater purpose to existence. We are told we must be responsible, work hard, be honest, be nice, etc., but to what end? If we have nothing to look forward to other than suffering and death, is it truly the reasonable position to suffer this life through to the bitter end? If experiencing maximum pleasure and minimal pain is the best explanation for the meaning of life, why should anyone not commit suicide?

I offer these thoughts as something to think about before being tempted to point the finger of blame in any one direction. I truly believe our society as a whole needs to take a step back and reevaluate our philosophical ideals, or Lack thereof more precisely.

Thanks for reading and adding some additional perspective to this post. My belief is that the continual evolution of the human brain and the ever changing environmental factors are contributing to the suicide rate. There are obviously other factors involved too, but it is devastating to those affected.

This is an important post. I lost my aunt to suicide and a classmate (male) from University. I was shocked and devastated. Thanks for raising awareness of this issue.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Apathy is the lowest emotion. Anger and revenge are higher emotions.

However, anger is seen as a bad emotion, because the person will often lash out.

So, we give them anti-depressents (I mean, depressents) which takes them from a higher state, to the lowest state, apathy. But, at least they aren't a danger to others, right?

A person who will commit suicide is in the emotional area of apathy.
And so, to save them, you have to get them up. If they start getting angry, they will not commit suicide.

Up past anger, through overwhelment into the higher emotions where they feel they have a future. Then you know they are on a good path.

So, if you have a friend who you believe is suicidal, start talking about the future. If they feel they don't have a future, they may truly, very shortly, not have a pulse.

A person who will commit suicide is in the emotional area of apathy.

I hear you. You really have to be in the state of mind of not caring at all. Any emotion is better than no emotion at all. Thanks for reading and sharing.

Its sad that the world puts so much on our (mainly) young men that leads them to this path. Its criminal we dont openly accept and treat mental health as we should.

I often feel we arent designed for the world around us and the exploitative influences that are pushed upon us. Young men appear to be having an identity crisis with so many contradicting messages on how they should look and behave.

Much respect to anyone with the strength to seek help or provide the help that is sought.

It is a shame. Society does do an injustice to our young men. This is compounded by their inability to talk about their feelings too. Thanks for reading.

Relationship with friends can help prevent suicidal. This article helps everybody to heads up and have ideas about the symptoms of suicidal. Thanks for sharing.

Jeez Scotty that a good piece and so so sad. I've been there man and you question your actions and words at the time.....forever.
Sadly you have to accept that there was probably nothing you could have done otherwise it eats away at you.
I'm sorry for your loss bro.
Great work Upvoted resteemed

Thanks for reading. It means a great deal. At the time it was devastating and I did self-medicate to help me get through it. To be honest, I don't remember much around that time and it also threw me into some dark and depressed times of my life. There wasn't much I could have done but sharing it here means it meant something.

I have lost friends to suicide, closest of buddos.

Sometimes you are in a position to help, sometimes they shut down and the harder you try to reach out the more they push you away.

So many factors, drug abuse, family, last of connection with society.

Its the quiet ones you have to look out for, the ones that never say a word and just blip off the radar one day.

I'm sorry for your loss. cried with you. hugs at a distance


Thanks for reading @sammosk. It means a great deal and I am grateful that my sharing means a lot. Hopefully we can spread the word and keep an eye on our mates.

As a nurse in the ER, I see people daily dealing with feelings of hopelessness contemplating suicide. I appreciate this piece as I also recently wrote one about suicide. I urged people to think about what they post, tweet, chat, text, etc. Social media is at our fingertips and lives are being stolen because of HATE. I emphasized the virtue of patience, taking threats of self injury seriously as they are often a cry for Help. Thank you for also speaking on the subject. Awareness saves lives.

Thanks for reading and replying. It is a hard topic to write about and open up here. I appreciate your words and thoughts. Thanks for contributing to the post.

I lost a family member to suicide. There is nothing like that feeling.

Sorry for your loss. It is gut wrenching. Thanks for reading.

Thanks, it is. It has been several years now. I'm looking for a poem I wrote when it happened that helped me deal with it. I'm thinking about sharing it here when I find it, along with the story, but I don't know if I could dig into it again only to have no one read it.

@aboutyourbiz. Feel free to share the link post here. Tag me in. I'll be more than happy to share and read. Perhaps sharing will help. I found it hard to share this story, but it's important to raise Awareness. Thanks for reading.

Ok, thanks, maybe I should step up my search efforts for the poem

I did it. Found the poem and wrote the story. Thanks for prodding me. https://steemit.com/life/@aboutyourbiz/flower-in-the-snow-a-suicide-story

You are welcome. I have resteemed your post. It's very moving. Hopefully your story will reach some other people too.

You've been very kind, thanks

The cost of old depression is mood-altering substances our society overs over-stimulated buy drugs and alcohol and sex keep doing what you doing and expect different result

Yes. I think there are a lot of different contributing factors towards the increased suicide rate. Thanks for reading.

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