Sunél’s Blog | The risk of going it alone

Sunél Veldtman, | 06 March 2020

What goes through a successful man’s mind when he pulls the trigger a day after his retirement? From the outside, he had it all: an illustrious career, a happy family, a big circle of friends and the trip of a lifetime planned.   But he harboured a secret. He never told his inner circle that he did not see life beyond work.

Or, what motivates a retired man to take his life when he has ‘lost’ his retirement capital on a big gamble? His family had no idea. Now, not only have they lost their husband and father, but they are left to put back the pieces of the puzzle without him.

These two examples point to the statistics of male suicides after middle-age. Multiple reports put them in the highest or second-highest suicide group, four times higher than that of females. Why? What drives them to that point and what is their inner voice saying? What are the stories they tell themselves? And what are the stories we tell men as a society that leave them feeling like suicide is their only choice? That their worth is only linked to their financial provision? That their jobs provide the only meaning in life? That they are nothing without a title or position? That they cannot confess to feelings? That seeking any kind of help, is weak?

And what business of mine, you may ask, is it to talk about male suicide? Because I see the risk in front of me: in my office, across my desk and in dealing with bereft families and chaotic estates.  And because I want my clients, family and friends to avoid this fate. And because it is a serious and increasing risk. I see how hard it is, for some men, to ask for advice.

So many men choose to go it alone – with their money, their careers and their wellbeing. Don’t. It’s dangerous. Make real friends and talk to them about real stuff.  Get help for your career, your marriage, your money and your health.

It is a measure of greatness, not smallness, to seek help. It takes great courage to face your reality, whatever it is.