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"The next thing we knew, he was gone."

- My friend recently took his own life. I was meant to talk to you about it...

- Oh no... What happened?

- I'm not entirely sure. He was my age, also 23. We were classmates from first grade through high school. No one saw it coming nor know exactly why he did it. We even went out for drinks about a month before it happened and he seemed normal.

- What do you mean by "normal"?

- You know, we were just catching up, much like we're doing now.

- Right... I'm so sorry to hear about that. Sadly, many people seem "normal" until we learn they've taken their own lives, and then it's too late. This is especially true for men. Did he confide in anyone about what he was going through?

- I chatted with one of our mutual friends who told me he'd been feeling depressed. But when they checked on him later, he said he was doing okay and that it was all in the past. So they didn't delve any further. The next thing we knew, he was gone.

- That's really heartbreaking... While I don't recall the exact statistics off the top of my head, research has shown that although more women experience suicidal thoughts than men, they're far less likely to act on them. On the other hand, among those having suicidal thoughts, men are far more likely to follow through. This often ties back to women being more inclined to share their feelings, leading to them receiving help or at least feeling less isolated. I believe the most common reason people commit suicide is this profound sense of loneliness, feeling that they don’t belong or that no one would understand them or need them in this world.

- That's true... and the number of men dying by suicide is much higher than women.

- Exactly, which is why men's mental health is massively overlooked in my opinion. I don't subscribe to the belief that men always have to suppress or hide their true feelings, especially when they're feeling sad or depressed. It's healthy to express them and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. If any of you ever grapple with your emotions like that, please talk to me.

- We will, sis. Thank you.


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