The Office of National Statistics has reported a decline in male suicide rate in the UK — the current rate being 15.5 out of every 100,000 men, the lowest since 1981 — a shift that is claimed to be an indicator of the reduced stigma surrounding the conversation of men suffering from mental health issues. According to the ONS numbers, men aged 45 to 49 are the age group with the highest suicide rate, of 24.8 deaths per 100,000. In recent years, awareness campaigns such as Prince William’s initiative Mental Health at Work have aimed to educate and normalize the general public on seeking professional help.
Furthermore, the royal family has acted on their promises of supporting the mental well being of the men and women of the UK through an organization called Heads Together, founded by Prince Harry, Prince WIlliam, and Kate Middleton. Prince William credited Kate Middleton with the original idea for the initiative, stating that “She had seen that at the core of adult issues like addiction and family breakdown, unresolved childhood mental health issues were often part of the problem.” The awareness campaign aims at including the conversation of mental health in daily life, with the three royals sharing their own struggles with the public, a move that can be viewed as a means to change the gap between the family and the citizens. Through opening up about the support the Harry provided for William after their mother’s death, the public was able to see a dialogue that is often considered one of private matters.
Including the conversation regarding stigma is heavily important in continuing the battle against suicide — Ruth Sutherland, head of the Samaritans charity, an organization aimed at providing emotional support for those in need, explains that “reducing stigma around men’s mental health and encouraging men to open up and seek help when they are struggling has been beneficial.” She further explains that understanding the demographic of suicide victims would aid the Samaritans and similar charities designing campaigns that support people at risk of self harm.