The Buddy Up suicide prevention campaign is back with a month’s worth of activities designed to bring down the suicide rate among men.
June is Men’s Health Month as well as Buddy Up month. The Centre for Suicide Prevention is hosting a June Challenge Month to address the fact that men died by suicide three times more often than women.
Statistics from 2019 show that male suicides comprised 3,058 out of the country’s 4,011 suicides that year. Men aged 45 to 64 have the highest suicide rate. While women attempt suicide up to two times more often than men, men die by suicide much more often because they tend to choose more lethal means.
An online program (at buddyup.ca) that evolved out of male think-tanks offers four weeks of challenges designed to bring men together. A month of suggested activities are designed for male participants — from exercising with a buddy to sharing a coffee or meal with a buddy, or gaming with a buddy.
The program was designed with the knowledge that many men have a harder time making personal connections. They might have been raised to be stoic and to handle their own problems. Some men have trouble showing or expressing emotion, leaving them with the idea that shows of weakness will diminish their “manhood.”
Males are at a higher risk of suicide if they are: reluctant to seek help, are “hyper-masculine, socially isolated, aggressive and impulsive and risk-taking. The centre outlines warning signs, such as men withdrawing from contact with friends and family, losing interest in their hobbies or activities, becoming more irritable and angry, drinking more alcohol or taking drugs, and exhibiting more risky behaviors.
According to buddyup.ca/learn, men can maintain life-saving social connections by prioritizing friendships and good relationships with loved ones. They can participate in peer support programs at school, in the workplace, or in the community. Social engagement such as joining a sports team or a music group can create belonging and connections for men and prompt interaction with other men who have similar interests, experiences, or struggles.
“Men who are struggling with thoughts of suicide may find that asking for and receiving help is not easy. Finding ways to lessen the intensity of these thoughts may take time. Be courageous. Be persistent – help is available.”
For more information, please visit buddyup.ca/learn.