Here It Comes Again
Here's Mick Head's favourite new band Tenements' latest track 'Here It Comes Again', a timely drop exploring similar concerns to Josh Miller's article on mental illness below.
Explaining the song's themes, Tenements songwriter Matt Reekie said: "The lyrics 'Here it comes again, you thought that it had gone forever, it's never going to be the same', sound romantic, but they actually refer to anxiety and panic attacks. The message in the chorus 'If you think you're the only one, you're wrong' hints at how you can believe those feelings are unique to you, when in fact there are many people in the same boat."
Here, Josh Miller explores the topic of mental health, asking why when we're talking about mental health more than ever, the rate of male suicides continues to increase?
Mental health has never been more widely discussed. Our understanding of depression and anxiety is greater than ever, and with a wide network of support readily available, the rate of male suicide should be at an all time low. Sadly, this is not the case.
The BBC recently published an article claiming the rate of male suicide in Britain is the highest it has been in a decade, with 19 deaths by suicide for every 100,000 men. This highlights a 4% increase on the previous year. Their article suggests the continuation of the 2008 recession is a decisive factor in these startling figures. This is undeniable, especially when one considers the most vulnerable age group is between 45-59, and most likely to be affected by financial burden. The BBC’s statistics are unsuprising in light of reports that all British 18 year olds have spent their adolescence growing up in a recession, making a pre-disposition to financial failure ubiquitous.
To suggest the reason for an increase in male suicide is driven predominantly by financial shortcomings as per the BBC article perhaps overlooks a systemic failure of our approach to mental health support. The fact an increasing number of men are becoming more likely to take their own lives rather than access some form of therapeutic support implies that either; the therapeutic outlets that are available to people experiencing mental health issues are failing to reach those most in need or, these men are aware of the support networks available to them and are choosing not to access them.
Having worked at mental health support organisation The Open Door Centre - an organistaion active in it’s approach to reaching those in need of support, I’m more inclined to believe the latter which begs the question; why are men so reluctant to access support?
For many years, the consensus has been that a reluctance to seek help for issues surrounding depression and anxiety has stemmed from a stigma affiliated with mental illness. However, in recent years we have seen a sea change in media mental health discussions, due in no small part to an ever growing number of high profile advocates of men’s mental health.
For example, recently men’s mental health advocate, Clarke Carlisle, revealed details of a recent suicide attempt which left him needing six weeks of hospital treatment. The former Leeds and QPR defender and one time head of the PFA, revealed in an interview that in December last year he intentionally stepped in front of a lorry on the A64, as he wished to die. Carlisle’s frank revelations were met with indignation from former friend and Royle Family actor, Ralf Little, who publicly criticised Carlisle for not revealing what he claimed was “the full story”. Little was lambasted widely on social media and in the national press, but claimed that he and Carlisle “had a past” - sparking further outrage from Twitter users and journalists alike.
The unanimous dismissal of Little’s criticism of Carlisle is indicative of the current consensus surrounding mental health. The fact that Little’s comments and the subsequent fallout were deemed newsworthy, seems to suggest a public shift towards a more empathetic approach to those experiencing mental health issues. Would a former footballer’s mental health have been deemed front page news during the previous recession of the 1980s?
That said, despite widespread discussion and celebrity endorsements we still have an increasing number of men choosing to commit suicide rather than seeking help. During the time I spent working in mental health, there was a prevailing sense of reluctance from clients to receive compassion for mental ailments. There seems to be an association of weakness with compassion, which I believe lies at the heart of the matter and is the issue which is in most need of addressing if we wish to see a significant improvement in the rate of male suicides.
If people like Clarke Carlisle continue to speak out about their experiences of mental illness, then we will continue to reach those people who are in need and who may be reluctant to access support. But if we really want to reach people, we need to start communicating better with one another. Although this may seem like an obvious conclusion to draw, when was the last time you asked someone how they were, and got an honest answer?
To speak to someone regarding the issues raised in this article visit:
www.theopendoorcentre.org or https://www.thecalmzone.net/