73% of all adults who go missing in the UK are men. You may have noticed this statistic on the homepage of my website.
I first came across it on the Men’s Health Forum website in a section called: ‘Key data: Mental health. Statistics on mental health and men.’
The original research was done by the University of York.
The report was called ‘Lost from view, a study of missing persons in the UK’ by Nina Biehal, Fiona Mitchell and Jim Wade.
Their research identified two age ranges which are particularly vulnerable.
- girls aged 13–17
- men aged 24–30
The feeling of being overwhelmed
It is not a subject that gets a huge amount of media coverage and, in my experience, it is something that doesn’t get spoken about very much generally.
There are two particular quotes in the report that particularly struck me.
- ‘I generally felt everything was getting on top of me. My job was extremely stressful and therefore put stress on my homelife and I just felt I had to get away.’
- ‘I always felt that, because of my alcohol addiction, I didn’t want to disrupt anyone else’s life that’s why: in the end I didn’t contact anyone. You could say I gave up on myself.’
That sudden overwhelming feeling of wanting to get away can really take you by surprise.
When you are feeling overwhelmed, it is extremely hard to talk to anybody about how you feel because you are not quite sure how you feel yourself.
The need to protect others
The second quote reveals how we can feel that we want to protect other people from how we feel, which of course compounds because it means that we then do not talk about it to anyone.
This urge to protect other people in our lives often comes from a good place within us and it shows that we care about those around us. However, if it means that we don’t reach out and get the support we need, then it might be to our detriment.
I am reminded of when on planes they go through the safety procedures and tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before you tend to your children. It never feels right every time I hear it, but if I can breathe, I am no use to my children.
Perhaps you recognise some of these feelings either in the past or now. What was your instinctive response. Did you withdraw? Did you feel a sense of ‘overwhelm’?