Trump’s statement regarding Men’s Health Week, made no reference to one of the deadliest causes of death among American men – suicide.
President Trump recently issued a statement regarding National Men’s Health Week – a week dedicated to raising awareness about men’s health issues, but the statement made no reference or mention to one of the deadliest causes of death among American men – suicide.
The Senate Joint Resolution (SJR 179), was passed in 1994, and designated June 12 to 19th as ‘Men’s Health Week’, in an effort to increase awareness on preventative means through which health problems can be avoided or addressed, while also encouraging educational and conversational programming on improving services and accessibility of health care for men, who are typically less likely to seek medical attention for ailments. The resolution lists various different ailments that affect men at higher rates than they do women, including cardiovascular disease, prostate disease, etc.
There’s already been a fair bit of criticism for the statement, with the typical culprits -repealing Obamacare, not acknowledging scientific evidence, and revoking acts and resources integral to women’s health (like Planned Parenthood) – taking center stage.
With the conversation thus far focusing on awareness and seeking treatment, it’s interesting that to one has yet brought attention to one huge factor of men’s health in America – suicide.
In the U.S., men are 4 times more likely to die from suicide than women. For those who prefer the more practical and economic arguments – suicide has cost the government (and taxpayers) $51 billion annually. So it’s not just something that can be brushed under the rug or entirely overlooked from a political angle.
And it’s certainly not something that only affects men, suicide is the fifth leading cause of death of Americans aged 44 and under. It’s an intersectional, highly influential health problem, that can often be diagnosed and treated, and as many people that mental illness may affect, stigma and general discourse tend to undermine and disregard it as a serious health concern.
Mental health has been a hot topic amidst popular media these days, particularly with the release and surge in popularity of the Netflix-original series 13 Reasons Why. This show, under a fair bit of criticism for encouraging and even romanticizing mental illness and suicide, has definitely brought discourse around mental health and awareness to a stir, particularly among the younger generation.
Ex-Knicks player Michael Sweetney also recently detailed his battle with depression and attempted suicide during a particularly rough season playing professional basketball. The sports and entertainment industries appear to be making a move forward in fighting the stigma surrounding mental illness and mental health awareness.
Why is it equally important for our leaders to pay heed to and bring to light the significance of mental health awareness? Because it is a pivotal move forward in destigmatizing and validating all those who suffer from a mental illness or have experienced mental health problems at some point in their lives (which, not surprisingly, is a fair bit of the population).