Watch men read their old suicide notes in a gut-wrenching PSA about getting help.

Content warning: discussion of suicidal thoughts and actions.

Suicide is often a silent killer.

Not only has it quietly become one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., but it's often the hesitation and fear of speaking up and asking for help that makes suicide seem like the only option.

In a way, our silence is killing us. And this is especially true for men.


In a gut-wrenching new PSA from the Movember Foundation, a nonprofit focused on men's health, men read aloud old suicide notes they'd written to loved ones years ago, after they'd decided to kill themselves.

Thankfully, none of them followed through. They decided to speak up instead.

It's a gripping reminder that "suicide notes talk too late" when it comes to accessing care:

As the PSA hints, far more men die from suicide than women.

While suicide rates have surged to 30-year highs across many demographics in the U.S. — with alarming spikes among both middle-aged women and young girls — men are still much more likely to kill themselves overall, according to data from the CDC.

"Globally, the rate of suicide is alarmingly high, particularly in men," as Movember's website points out. "Too many men are 'toughing it out,' keeping their feelings to themselves and struggling in silence."

One particular subgroup of men, however, has been especially affected.

As FiveThirtyEight reported, middle-age white men living in the American West are three times as likely to die from suicide than the national average. Locals in Wyoming — a state where roughly 8 in 10 suicides are men — blame it on the  “cowboy-up” mentality: pull yourself up by the bootstraps and carry on.

Call it whatever you want, but the "tough it out" strategy and the "cowboy-up" mentality are exactly the wrong ways to take care of your mental health.

Gender norms hurt both women and men, and nothing exemplifies that better than the discrepancy in suicide rates.

As boys, we're taught not to cry. As teens, we're told to suck it up.

It's no wonder research suggests men are less likely to reach out for help when struggling with depression, substance abuse, or stressful life events.

Men are told time and time again that opening up and showing emotion is a form of weakness, even though it can be the bravest, strongest thing a person can do.

Photo via iStock.

Starting that conversation can save your life.

If you're depressed or having thoughts of suicide, today is the day to get help.

National Suicide Prevention Week is a campaign aimed at curbing the stigma surrounding mental health and encouraging folks to access care.

But there really isn't an ideal week to reach out for help. The sooner you speak up, the brighter your future looks.

Need help? You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, or learn more at the Movember Foundation's website.

Family

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture