Tim Carter, English Footballer, death by hanging, 2008.
Terry Newtown, English rugby player, suicide, 2010.
Alexander McQueen, found hung in his wardrobe, 2010
Gary Speed, Welsh footballer, suicide, 2011.
Tony Scott, English film director, jump, 2012.
Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. It is also the silent killer, the one that nobody talks about. According to ONS statistics 76% of all suicides in 2014 were men, on average 12 deaths per day according to mental health organisation CALM. These are alarming statistics that are ever increasing.
Stephen Paul Manderson, also known by his stage name Professor Green is an English rapper and singer songwriter. He is synonymous with a rapping culture, tattoos, a hard gritty exterior, raw language and the word ‘lucky’ on his neck, an explicit physical demonstration of Green’s tale from the backstreets of Hackney to becoming one of England’s most professional rappers. If you don’t know him as a rapper you can probably identify him as Made in Chelsea Millie McIntosh’s husband.
What is not known is that Professor Green is a man who is plagued by his father’s suicide seven years ago. At the age of 42 Green’s father took his own life, hanging himself. His son had not seen him in seven years.
“It is not a topic that everyone wants to talk about”, Green says.
One major problem associated with male suicide is the fact that men are often reluctant to speak openly about depressed feelings. Organisations such as The Samaritans and CALM publicly advocate the need for men to reach out when they need help.
Green unveils the turbulent history of his past in his poignant documentary Suicide and Me.
It is only an hour long and to be perfectly honest it probably couldn’t be any longer. It a very raw depiction of Green’s attempt to find out more about why his father committed suicide at the tender age of 42. A documentary that captivates his audience, we are not voyeurs, Green breaks the fourth wall as he publicly invites us to experience his rawness and devastating loss. For an hour we are on Green’s journey, it is exhausting, shattering but incredibly heart felt.
Even though it is a documentary about Green he is not over indulgent, and explores suicide in both his personal sphere while also addressing the social issues attached to it. He reaches out to Glasgow professor Rory O’Connor who explains that there “is never rarely a single factor” in suicide. He visits a suicidal victim Ben, who is now an amateur rugby coach. Ben’s father committed suicide, and he is plagued by this trauma in his life. Being exposed to suicide can often make you more vulnerable to it. He has attempted suicide unsuccessfully twice, and now puts all his energy into making sure he never becomes as sick again. Ben says that the lack of communication between fellow men is one of the contributing factors as to why he attempted suicide.
“A stigma exists around suicide. Like cancer and aids people find it hard to talk about it. The whole reason it exists is because people don’t talk about it”, he says.
British men are three times more as likely than British women to die by suicide, as according to the Samaritans. It is a scarily alarming statistic and one that can only be broken through open conversation. Professor Green’s Suicide and Me is a really touching piece of work. It is not overly self indulgent nor hedonistic. Rather Green addresses the complex factors behind suicide, the stigma and some of the ways in which it can be tackled.
It may not be a topic that everyone wants to talk about, but certainly is a topic that needs to be addressed. Professor Green does it remarkably well.
To watch please click on the link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06mvx4j/professor-green-suicide-and-me
Words: Catherine McMaster
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