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The #ItsOkayToTalk campaign encourages men to vocalize their feelings.
A few facts you might not know: Men are 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide than women; suicide is most common in middle-aged white men.
Many believe this is because of the stigma surrounding men having to appear “strong,” that they shouldn’t talk about their feelings or admit they need help. After losing his brother-in-law to suicide, U.K. rugby player Luke Ambler sought to combat this taboo. He began a Facebook group called “Andy’s Man Club,” where he wanted men to feel safe talking about their emotions.
To push his reach further, Ambler began posting selfies in which he makes the OK symbol with his hands, with #ItsOkayToTalk. Since then, the hashtag has taken off, with men and women posting selfies of themselves showing “it’s OK.”
As some of you may know, it’s National Suicide Prevention Week. As some of you may not know, men are 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide than women. We’re joining the #ItsOkayToTalk campaign by raising awareness and challenging the men of Sigma Pi, Tau Kappa Epsilon, and all men of UWA to do the same #ItsOkayToTalk
A photo posted by UWA Delta Chi (@uwadeltachi) on
thank you @eloisesohier for sharing the love ❤️ You may have noticed several people on your newsfeed get behind this amazing suicide-prevention campaign and today it’s even more pertinent on #RUOKDay . . To all the blokes reading this, #itsokaytotalk Suicide is Australia’s biggest killer for men and women aged between 15 and 44, but young men are less likely to reach out for help. Suicide is indiscriminate and can strike any gender or race when we all least expect it. The suicide rate of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people is more than double the national rate. As a Lifeline telephone support councillor I want to ask, are you okay? And if you’re not, give Lifeline a call on 13 11 14. It’s completely anonymous and sometimes it just makes you feel better to have a good old chat.
A photo posted by Freya Cole (@frey_cole) on
Along with selfies, men are sharing on social media their own feelings and struggles with depression.
Now, to raise awareness for World Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10 (this it’s also National Suicide Prevention Week), Ambler is sharing videos of men talking about mental illness. In one video, a radio DJ discusses his station manager’s suicide and his own inability to talk about his feelings.
Additionally, the Movember Foundation put together a video of men reading their own suicide notes, to encourage men to have the complex and important conversations that can save lives.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression and thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.
Lyz Lenz is currently the managing editor of the Rumpus. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Jezebel, the Columbia Journalism Review, and Mashable.