In the recent upsurge of interest in men and their frequently dismal mental health, there has been great mention of how isolated men feel.
One area in which they are apparently not alone though, is in thinking about suicide.
Those who have had “thoughts of suicide” are now in the majority, says a survey called #Mend The Gap in the current issue of Men’s Health, with 56% of men straying into such bleak contemplations.
Yet as there is no context for this statistic or even detail as to what “thoughts of suicide” means, this particular fragment of illumination provides no assistance to an understanding of “the silent epidemic.”
Indeed, the only supplementary information the magazine provides is a statement of the obvious from a Doctor Mark Winwood, of Harley Street (and, the small print reveals, “In conjunction with AXA PPP Healthcare.”)
“What’s important,” he says, ”is planning not to act on these thoughts.”
Here’s the problem.
Presented without context, one assumes the “56%” is both high and going up, and maybe it is, but there’s no way of knowing.
Equally, that assumption could be completely wrong.
It may be that this percentage of men think about suicide every year, and have done ever since the option became available.
It may be that all this talk of suicide has caused men to think about it.
Also, without knowing what a “thought of suicide” is, there’s no way of knowing how it links to suicide itself, as clearly 56% of men do not go on to kill themselves.
And so as the vast majority of thoughts of suicide do not lead to suicide, as a measure of how much one is in danger from going through with the act having had such a thought, that “56%” is of no value alone.
For those who are finding Monday morning a little meaningless at the moment, then, take comfort that at least it’s not as meaningless as this statistic.