Suicide statistics released yesterday by the Samaritans indicate that 5,688 people killed themselves in 2016, a fall of 3.4% on the previous year and the lowest suicide rate since 2011.
The figures, compiled by the Office of National Statistics, show that 1,381 of the suicides registered were female, and 4,287 male.
The Samaritans do an outstanding job, not least in volunteering to stay up all night, often just to listen to man after man masturbating down the phone at them.
Were it not for their skilled and patient counsel, the suicide numbers would doubtless be higher, and they are a shining example of how to help the lost and despairing simply by listening.
For the troubled, having summoned the courage to articulate their shame or sense of worthlessness, one of the biggest obstacles to “opening up” is finding someone to successfully open up to.
There can be no shortage of people whose declaration didn’t go as planned, with undermining responses such as “That’s classic, wait until I tell the lads” or “I used to feel like that, only much worse” completely derailing the moment.
So a massive hand to the Samaritans.
However, a study last year by the Huffington Post and the charity Calm, which campaigns against men’s suicide, found statistics to illustrate how men were still much less likely to “open up about their problems”, even in spite of being urged to by the Royal Family.
“There’s a time when boys are allowed to cry and then suddenly they’re not allowed to cry any more. You’ve got to be a man,” said psychotherapist Damien Ridge, commenting on the survey result when it came out.
Saint Peacock thoroughly agrees that “being a man”, is a particularly ineffective solution to many of life’s problems, and is massively in favour of verbalising the torment to a sympathetic ear. It is not so convinced by the crying argument, however.
Anyone who has spent time in an airport departure hall this summer (or shopping centre, supermarket or other location where bored children gather en masse with their parents) will probably have noted that the reason boys are ordered not to cry is because more often than not they are the only ones who do.
Girls seem to display a much more sanguine response to vexation, whether from the tedium of delays or yet another failure on the part of Gatwick Shopping Village.
Their brothers meanwhile, seem much more likely to let it go with both lungs at the tiniest slight or deprivation.
Faced with a third hour of a child’s uncontrollable sobbing, even the most loving parent could be forgiven for issuing a sharp “zip it” to the brat.
This seems eminently reasonable – boys are led to believe it is in their best interests to stop crying not because their parents are cruel and emotionally manipulative, but because they are being a massive P in the A, and dialling down the attention seeking is a vital educative part of taking into account the needs of others.
So if it was right to stop crying at London Luton, aged 7, when is it right to start again?
This website predicts men will be holding those tears back for a little longer, until clarification is forthcoming.