Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 45, with working class men dramatically and disproportionately at risk of taking their own lives. Men from lower socioeconomic classes are up to 10 times more likely to die by suicide than our more affluent counterparts, but the links between class, masculinity and suicide are barely understood.

As a working class man who found myself, my support network and my community completely unequipped when I became suicidal, I wanted to explore what we could do better when dealing with, talking about and trying to prevent suicide. An Epidemic of Silence: Suicide and Working Class Men is a new research piece into the cultural, economic and political forces driving the suicide crisis in Britain and its unique place in working class communities.

How do we understand and address the relationship between class, masculinity and mental health? How do start addressing suicide as a public health crisis rather than an individual choice? How do we fight one of the most sensitive and severe consequences of inequality? Epidemic of Silence aims to look at these questions in a grassroots and purposefully anti-establishment way, centring the experiences and ideas of working class people and communities outside of the often marginalising and alienating confines of traditional academia.

This project is still taking its first steps, so watch this space for updates. If you’d like to get involved, share your experience or talk about our work, drop me a line at chris@britainhasclass.org.

- Chris