Mind our Men: new campaign aims to reduce number of male suicides

Pieta House services used more by women but eight out of 10 suicides each week in Ireland are men

Joan Freeman of Pieta House: “In the last few years, there’s been an increased awareness in regard to suicide and more people are talking about it. However, despite this, the rate of suicide in Ireland continues to grow and most of them are men.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Joan Freeman of Pieta House: “In the last few years, there’s been an increased awareness in regard to suicide and more people are talking about it. However, despite this, the rate of suicide in Ireland continues to grow and most of them are men.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Tue, Mar 26, 2013, 06:00

More than 500 people have used a suicide prevention group’s website to pledge their support for a new initiative being launched today. The Mind our Men campaign by Pieta House asks people to pledge their support in minding the men in their lives.

Eight out of 10 people who die by suicide each week are men, but despite this, more women than men are using Pieta House’s services. The initiative aims to help men who may be contemplating suicide, but who may not seek out mental health services. It will equip participants with the knowledge to correctly address mental health issues and to normalise conversations about suicide. Participants will become the link between their friend or relation and Pieta House.

Founder of Pieta House Joan Freeman said although suicide was being discussed more, the problem was not decreasing.

“In the last few years, there’s been an increased awareness in regard to suicide and more people are talking about it. However, despite this, the rate of suicide in Ireland continues to grow and most of them are men,” she said.

“If we do this right, it will make a big impact and we will lead the way in changing how people talk about suicide. People are saying it’s a wonderful and simple approach.”

Over the next few weeks, Pieta House will be travelling to counties across Ireland to promote the scheme, which has an interactive map online showing where people have pledged support.

“Someone said to me that our interactive map is lighting up beautifully,” Ms Freeman said.

When pledging support, participants leave a public, anonymous message saying whom they have promised to keep an eye out for, whether husbands, friends, colleagues or other family members.

Pledges can be made at mindourmen.ie. People worried about friends or family or who are contemplating suicide themselves can contact their local Pieta House. A list of offices is available at pieta.ie.