#ITSOKAYTOTALK Seeks to Raise Suicide Awareness Among Men
Every year, more than 42,000 Americans die by suicide. If you see a selfie that looks like this in your newsfeed, it’s because your friend wants you to know it’s OK to talk.
— Mark Yeates (@MarkRYeates) August 22, 2016
Men around the world are sharing photos of themselves making the OK hand symbol to raise suicide awareness, as men are 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide than women. Now men want others to know it’s OK to speak up about mental illness.
The #ITSOKAYTOTALK campaign was started on July 31, by U.K. rugby player Luke Ambler. “My brother-in-law killed himself back in April and it was completely out of the blue,” Ambler told Indy100. “I found it staggering – the impact it left on my kids, his family and friends. I decided something needed to be done, so I created a Facebook group called Andy’s Man Club UK where men feel it’s safe to talk.”
— Luke Ambler (@Ambler09) July 31, 2016
After starting Andy’s Man Club, Ambler posted a selfie of himself making the OK hand symbol on Twitter, asking others to do the same. Shortly after posting his tweet, friends of Ambler’s and fellow rugby players followed suit. Within a week #ITSOKAYTOTALK was trending in the U.K. and Australia, making its way to the U.S.
Along with a selfie, some men are also sharing messages of encouragement as well as the suicide rates for men in the U.K.
Blokes get depression. It happens. It doesn’t make you weak or broken, but it means you need to talk to someone. Your mates, girlfriends and family are there for you.
The single biggest killer of men aged under 45 is suicide. In 2014, 4623 took their own life. That’s 12 men every day, 1 man every two hours! 41% of men who contemplated suicide felt they could not talk about their feelings.
Only 20% of people know that suicide is the most likely cause of death for men age under 45.
Let’s show men across the world that #ITSOKAYTOTALK and take a selfie with the [OK hand symbol] and lets get the message out there.
— Junior Roqica (@JuniorRoqica) August 19, 2016
While #ITSOKAYTOTALK is raising awareness of suicide among men, it’s not just men sharing their selfies. Many women have joined in on the trend too.
Those interested in participating are encouraged to share a selfie on their preferred social media with the hashtag #ITSOKAYTOTALK, as well as tag five friends to keep the trend going.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.