It’s a worrying time. Even if I manage to avoid the dinner table taboos of Politics, Religion and Finance; it’s still a worrying time.
Later this year I turn 44, and whilst I fit neatly into the “Middle Aged Men in Lycra” (aka MAMILs!) demographic, I also currently meet the qualifying criteria for another, more ominous group.
Working for a Life insurer, we receive regular updates on mortality rates (as an aside, it is apparently also taboo to read these out at the dinner table!). These mortality rates tell us that those at highest risk, in regards to suicide, are men aged between 40 and 44 years; at a rate of 24.1 deaths per 100,000 population.*
It’s the usual factors that affect us all – work, family, finances and health – combined with the archaic attitude to keep a “stiff upper lip” and that “men don’t talk about our feelings”, have all contributed to this. Sprinkle on top the extra added pressures of Instagram telling us that our hair isn’t the correct shade of grey and that we haven’t got enough tattoos, Facebook pointing out the joys of having 2.4 kids and three foreign holidays a year or even LinkedIn highlighting the career path we could’ve taken to be more successful.
Luckily, support is available from charities such as Mind, and that’s why I’m choosing to support them by taking part in Lutine’s Ride4Life again this year.
30 years ago, whilst I was struggling with bad haircuts and quadratic equations, a group of people left the comfort of Lloyd’s of London and ventured North, to set up Lutine Assurance. They made it as far as Birmingham! So this year, as part of the Ride4Life challenge, we’re retracing their steps and cycling the 128 miles back to Leadenhall Market (no doubt where they originally hatched the plan for Lutine!). If you would like to support me in reaching our £10k fundraising target, please sponsor me here.
* Office of National Statistics 2017