Over a Third of Scottish Men Have Experienced Suicidal Thoughts Due to Stress: Survey Findings
According to survey by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland, over a third of Scottish men (37%) have experienced suicidal thoughts as a result of feeling stressed. The survey also found that men in Scotland are more likely to turn to alcohol in response to high stress levels, with nearly a third (31%) reporting that they had started drinking alcohol or increased their alcohol intake in order to cope.
These alarming statistics come at a time when Scotland has the highest rate of suicide in the UK after Northern Ireland, with two people dying by suicide every day on average. This tragic situation highlights the urgent need to address the issue of stress and mental health among men in Scotland.
The survey identified the key factors that contribute to stress among Scottish men, including uncertainty over jobs and employment, and money worries. Over a quarter of men surveyed reported that not having enough money to meet basic needs was a major cause of stress. The impact of stress on men’s physical and mental health was also clear, with over half (53%) of those surveyed reporting that stress had an impact on their sleep, and 56% reporting feelings of anxiety as a result of stress.
The findings of the survey are particularly concerning given the fact that men are still less likely to open up about their feelings of stress to friends and family members. This reluctance to seek support can lead to depression, anxiety, self-harm, and, tragically, suicide. The survey shows that some of the ways that men cope with stress, such as alcohol and drugs, can actually worsen underlying feelings.
It is crucial that we take steps to address the societal expectations of how men should cope with stress. This includes creating mentally healthy and compassionate workplaces and schools, where young boys are supported to discuss their emotions. It also means providing a welfare system that treats people with dignity and respect, particularly those who are vulnerable.
We all have a responsibility to shift the culture and encourage men to talk about stress and mental health. If you are worried about someone in your life who is going through a difficult time, the first step is to talk to them. By opening up about your own experiences, you can help to break the stigma and create a culture of support and understanding.
Here are some helpful tips for managing stress:
- Recognize when stress is causing problems and identify the causes.
Try to identify the reasons for your feelings of stress. Ask yourself if you are taking on too much or if there is anything that can be handed over to someone else.
- Build supportive relationships and social networks.
Find close family and/or friends who can offer help and practical advice. Joining a club, volunteering, or enrolling on a course are some ways to expand your social network and encourage you to try something different.
- Look after your physical health.
Try to eat healthily, get regular physical exercise, and be aware of your smoking, drinking, and caffeine intake.
- Get regular sleep.
Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Create a relaxing bedtime routine and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals before bed.
- Take time out.
Take regular breaks and try to find something that you enjoy and that helps you relax. This could be reading, listening to music, or spending time in nature.
It is important to remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. There are many organizations and services that can provide support and advice for men experiencing stress and mental health problems. By reaching out for help, you can take the first step towards improving your mental health and well-being.