Men and Depression; the Death of Gary Speed

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Gary_SpeedGary Speed was a highly regarded and widely respected Welsh soccer player and manager. He was captain of the Welsh National team, and later served as manager. Gary Speed made different headlines last week, when he took his life shortly after appearing on a TV show.

Gary's death sent ripples of shock through the UK's soccer community, and those who knew Gary best struggled to explain the tragic circumstances of his death. Across the country, media outlets began to speculate that "depression" was the reason for Gary's suicide, but his friends and family have adamantly denied that Gary was ever depressed. Despite these denials, the Professional Footballers' Association issued 50,000 brochures about coping with depression to current and former players.

The unfortunate fact is that –worldwide – men are significantly more likely to be successful in their suicide attempts, and significantly less likely to seek help for depression. In 2007, suicide was the 7th leading cause of death for men, versus the 15th leading cause of death for women.

According to NIMH, "many men do not recognize, acknowledge, or seek help for their depression. They may be reluctant to talk about how they are feeling. But depression is a real and treatable illness. It can affect any man at any age. With the right treatment, most men with depression can get better and gain back their interest in work, family, and hobbies."

Encourage the men in your life to talk about their emotional health, and support them when they open up to you. If you or a loved one is in crisis, don't hesitate - call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).


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