Watch
spotting the signs

We have created WATCH as a simple reminder and help sheet for people who would like to look out for the men they care about. WATCH is not intended as a substitute for the proper care of men who have already been identified as being at risk.

W  Watch out for events in a man’s life that might knock him off course. Things like   redundancy or loss of earnings, the end of a relationship, the loss of a friend or someone close to him, business problems, changes in his health and other events that he might find humiliating. Watch out for things he does that might be a sign of hidden stresses: getting angry, becoming isolated or withdrawn, using alcohol or drugs, not taking care of himself.

A   Assess if a man is at risk right now. Particularly if there are a number of things on your Watch Out list or if he has talked about “ending things” in some way. If you are at all concerned talk about it calmly, without over-reacting or dismissing it. You can also contact your doctor or call one of the helplines listed on our website. Nobody will dismiss what you have to say and all will be happy to help. And if you’re not immediately concerned but want to take part in making things better, read on…

 Talk is healthy. One of the things that some men tend not to do when they have problems is to talk about them. We won’t change that overnight. What we can do now is to set an example ourselves. If we can talk about how we are feeling, what we are worried about and how it affects us, the men around us will learn that it’s OK to do that too. We shouldn’t try to ‘make’ men start sharing their feelings; just show them by example that the world won’t end if you do talk about things.

C  Connect when you can. Traditionally, men are supposed to be rugged, resourceful individuals. That’s great when things are going well and we all rely on men to be like that sometimes. But when things aren’t going well, some men tend to take themselves away on their own, to isolate themselves. As a result, they don’t see that other men also feel pretty bad from time to time. And being alone makes it even harder for them to ask for help. Again, we need to lead by example. We won’t get all men to start connecting with other people overnight. But we can make sure that we don’t isolate ourselves or hide- away when we’re feeling bad.

H  Honour what is. For a man who is struggling and feeling ashamed, taking his own life can seem like a resourceful solution to an unbearably painful problem. We want to honour a man’s right to think or feel this way and not judge him or tell him he is wrong. We can help him have other choices for dealing with things by also honouring all of the dark, messy, shameful inner feelings. These are normal experiences that other people share from time to time. We must not dismiss, blame or ridicule what he is facing. We should also honour ourselves; we are not to blame for what that man is feeling and, no matter how close we are to him, his life is not solely our responsibility. We can only change things by honouring and accepting what is.

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