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8 Out of 10 Suicides in the US Are Men; Guts, Grit, and the Grind
From:
Frank King -- The Mental Health Comedian Frank King -- The Mental Health Comedian
Eugene , OR
Sunday, March 15, 2020


Guts, Grit, and the Grind; a Men's Mental Mechanics Manual
 
Video Clip: Click to Watch


Most people know that men kill themselves roughly four times as often as women, and that 7 in 10 suicides in the US are by men. Adult men don't "age out" of suicide risk, but age into higher and higher risk. These are our sons, brothers, uncles, fathers, grandfathers, battle buddies, co-workers, teammates, and the majority of our tax-paying workforce.  From farming, fishing, and forestry to construction, mining, and medicine, men-at-work are killing themselves in droves.  

The trouble is, no one is doing much about it. That is, until this book came along.  

I've spent most of my adult life trying to help men not kill themselves. So have the authors of this book. 

Men who work hard in therapy, quit drinking or drugging, and stop doing stupid stuff are always grateful. 

Men believe in paying it back, back and paying it forward. Do a man a favor and he says, "I owe you one"  And he means it. Called "male reciprocity," men understand that when you accept something it is never free, but that a price must be paid; back to the giver, or to someone else into the future.  It's about paying one's debts. It's about the code of fair play and fair dealing. It's about honor. It's why mentored men mentor other men.  Heartfelt reciprocity is the mark of manhood.  

And it's about why the men you will meet in Guts, Grit and the Grid are willing to tell you their stories. They are paying it forward. On a grander scale, reciprocity is why the world works at all. 

Only a few lucky men find their way into competent care. And it usually takes a life-threatening crisis to get them there. In general, men wait too long to get their testicles examined after they feel the first bumps. They wait too long to have their eyes examined, their teeth fixed, and they colons scoped. After a deep dive into heavy drinking or drugs, they wait too long to go to NA, AA or rehab, and end up with brains whose neurotransmitters are so depleted that if you stuck a dipstick their ear and drew it out again, you'd have to blow the dust off the stick to read the "oil" level. 

Just kidding.  But the engine-to-brain metaphor is a good one, "If you took care of car's engine like you're taking care of your brain, you'd better get used to walking or taking the bus" 

Not reaching out for help has many causes, not the least of which is that when in extreme pain, our brains tell us "nothing can help, you're too far gone"  It's called the "help-negation effect" and its real, and it costs us all too dearly. 

To get some men into treatment you have to bust their balls, or you have to threaten them, or those who love them have to drop a dime on them or drop the hammer to force the issue.  "You either go to counseling with me or I'm leaving"  "Clean up your act, or you're fired" "If you're late one more Monday morning, you can pack your bags"

Do men wait too long to ask for help with suicidal thoughts? 

Of course, they do.  

What man in his right mind would tell anyone they are thinking of killing themselves? CertainlyCertainly, no physician. CertainlyCertainly, no commercial airline pilot. A cop? A judge? A pastor? A farmer? Give me a break.  "Oh golly, I wonder if these thoughts of killing myself might have something to do with my mental health. Gee, I think I'll go see a psychologist"  

There's a reason men don't ask strangers for help. If you're a man, asking for help from a stranger is dangerous. Until proven otherwise, strangers are enemies, and in ancient times, if you were a stranger in a strange land, and other men who caught you on their turf they had a right to kill you on sight. This has been true forever, from the Bible to English Common Law to West Side Story, unwelcome male trespassers are subject to the death penalty. Or capture and torture, slavery, and sexual assault. Every man who has tomust ask a stranger for help hears banjo music (from the film Deliverance), and we all know how that turned out.

The authors of this book have set about to change things in the world of men, and in how men see and think about themselves, not only in help-seeking, but help-accepting. Guys may not ask for help, but they will accept it if offered when needed, like when they are stuck in a ditch and need a push or a pull. Or in fight against the bad guys like in everything from the Seven Samurai to The Hobbit. 

Men will also accept help if they know it won't kill them. The authors get this tough task done by being smarter than your average bears.  They just went directly to men in recovery and asked them to tell other men how they not only survived their own personal shit storm, but how they thrived in the aftermath. 

To my knowledge, no other authors have done this before.  

Humans learn best and fastest by imitation, by watching what happens to other people, especially bad things. It's why we all rubberneck car crashes. It's why we go to scary movies. It's why we need role models - both good and bad - so that we can give ourselves life lessons as in, "Holy crap!  Did you see what happened to him? I think I'll skip freestyle rock climbing"  

In Guts, Grit, and the Grind you will find life-saving stories about how men sunk down and climbed up and out again. Delivered by real men with courage and integrity, this first-person storytelling changes lives, and for the better. Reading these first personfirst-person accounts will help suicidal men take a step back and say, "Hell, if he can make it, so can I!"

The day you read this, another roughly 2000 blokes, men, guys, pinheads and princes will kill themselves. That's roughly a regiment of soldiers a day. Imagine that. Another 2,000 will die tomorrow. And another 2,000 the day after that, and on and on until we all do something about it.

To understand how men work you havemust lift the hood and poke around. You have tomust understand traditional male values. You have to understand "warrior psychology" – an emergent term that helps explain so much of what makes many men tic and why. You have tomust understand team psychology, small group dynamics, and why men do best when on a mission of importance within a small band of like-minded other men who share the same vision, mission and goal. And you have to read about how tough it was for the men in this book to find their way forward in a world that chooses to ignore their reality. 

 

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Frank King
The Mental Health Comedian
The Mental Health Comedian
Springfield, OR
858.405.5653