Mass killer needs tackling

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One of those criminally overlooked issues is that of male suicides, a serious problem which should shame a nation, yet gets very little attention.

Of the 6,639 suicide cases in 2015, 4,997 of those who took their own life were men, a deeply concerning 75 per cent of all cases.

We live in an age where communication has never been so accessible, so it is disturbing that so many people feel so helplessly alone in their turmoil that they feel they have no other option but to take the most drastic action imaginable. Suicide is the biggest killer of men aged under 45, which begs the question why more isn’t done to stop it when, quite rightly, millions is spent on other mass killers of men, such as cancer and heart disease.

As is often the case with so many things which really should fall upon the Government to sort, a charity has managed to thrust the issue of male suicides firmly into the public consciousness thanks to one of the most striking public relations campaigns in recent memory.

Last week, national newspapers and television screens carried images of 84 figures stood on top of the ITV building in London – a display which will live in the memory of those who saw it. These 84 sculptures represent the number of men who take their own lives every week.

#Project84 is the work of Campaign Against Living Miserably, and they should be applauded for putting this issue where it belongs – into the national arena.

Personally, this is an issue which I have been passionate about for nearly six years, following my own brush with depression and, while I was never in danger of taking my own life, I can now understand how some people can find themselves in a place where they feel they have nowhere else to go.

Last week, along with more than 150,000 others, I signed an online petition calling upon the Government to appoint a minister with the brief to do more for suicide prevention. It was a tiny contribution to the cause but it is another step towards keeping this very serious problem firmly where it belongs–- at the forefront of our minds.