Out In The Open

Four suicide attempt survivors reveal how the imperative to 'man up' helped push them to their lowest

Suicide is a leading cause of death for men.
(By Sander van der Wel from Netherlands)

Suicide is a leading cause of death for men, and according to some of the men living inside that crisis, the pressures of masculinity are in part to blame.

Four survivors of suicide attempts tell Out in the Open about wanting and planning to die, and how being a man shaped that intensely raw and difficult experience. We've agreed to only use their first names for their privacy.

Told to 'man up'

Josh: "People would say 'Stop being so selfish' or you know 'Man up or take responsibility for your life'. That was the hardest part. It just shatters you to listen to those people."

Robb: "I do remember specially being told to man up a lot."

Mark: "You get called a fag, weak, and a pussy and all these things just because you cry or just because you're upset or you need help dealing with something no one ever taught you how to deal with."

Zach: "I felt like I wasn't living up to ideals in the black community. I was often reminded that I wasn't — that I was too femme, that I was a fag, that I was too queer."

Asking for help is a huge challenge

Zach: "Every time I reach out for help, honestly it's like taking taking my first steps again... I think getting people to understand and believe, it is courageous."

Mark: "And we know that we can prevent it. That's the tragedy. If we can help people, especially men to open up more about what they're feeling we can stop them from dying."

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