#ItsOkayToTalk about men’s health has never been needed more.
“The single biggest killer of men aged under 45 is suicide,” Austrailian Reece Rebetzke wrote on Facebook on Aug. 22. “In 2014, 4623 men took their own life. That’s 12 men everyday, One man every 2 hours!!! Let’s show all men across the world that #itsokaytotalk.”
Just three weeks later, the 23-year-old took his life, according to the Daily Mail.
Rebetzke has become another face in the suicide epidemic, his family says. He is also another unfortunate example of why the viral hashtag #ItsOkayToTalk was created in the first place.
During Suicide Prevention Week, rugby player Luke Ambler asked men to post selfies with #ItsOkayToTalk—just like Rebetzke did—to bring attention to the stigma men face when discussing mental health. Because what Rebetzke posted is true: About 42 percent of men ages 18–45 have considered suicide.
Over the past month, thousands of men (and women) on social media have taken the issue to heart, encouraging others not to bottle up their feelings and reminding men that seeking professional help doesn’t make them “weak.”
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says that suicide “most often occurs when stressors exceed current coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition.” In other words, every day, every moment, is different for those who suffer from mental illness and depression, which is why people need to feel it’s safe to talk and reach out when they’re in their deepest despair.
“When you’re desperate, when you’re in a dark place please, please just take a moment to think,” Rebetzke’s aunt Stacey Heath told the Daily Mail. “You are important, you are loved and you’re very much needed by so many.”
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