In episode 233 of The Just Checking In Podcast we checked in with academic Dr Susie Bennett.

Susie currently studies at the Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab (SBRL) at the University of Glasgow, researching male suicide.

We came across Susie through friend of the pod George from TheTinMen and for her PHD dissertation, she conducted one of the largest studies of suicidal men ever done.

She interviewed 32 men who had either attempted to take their own life or had suicidal thoughts and also heard from people bereaved from male suicide.

Susie’s interest in men’s mental health started from an early age as she has three brothers she is close with.

In 2017, as #MeToo was exploding into the public consciousness and a lot of men were rightly brought to justice for their crimes, Susie began to feel concerned about the overspill of it into men who did not fit the criteria of men like Harvey Weinstein but were being compared with him in the same breath.

She also became uncomfortable with what she says was a growing narrative around ‘male privilege’ whilst also gaining knowledge about the statistics about suicide being the biggest killer of men under 50.

She could not square the circle that all men seemingly simultaneously had all the privilege and power but were also taking their own lives at a much higher rate than women. She wondered if there was a part of the story that was missing.

Fast forward to now and she is dedicating her work and career to helping men with their mental health. She does this through carrying out research into why men take their own lives and what society needs to do to listen to them and stop it from happening.

In this episode we discuss her academic journey, how she became, in her words an ‘accidental academic’ and her desire to help men’s mental health.

We discuss what she learned during the study she conducted and the biggest risk factors for men to take their own lives in childhood and adulthood.

For Susie’s mental health, she struggled with high anxiety levels and traits associated with OCD during her childhood. These included intrusive thoughts and rituals which she hasn’t got diagnosed at time of recording.

She is also trying to get assessed for ADHD at time of recording and we discuss those symptoms too.

We also discuss her struggles with sexuality during the 1990s as she is a Lesbian, suicidality and the power and beauty of platonic friendships between lesbian girls and heterosexual men.

We finish by wondering whether Gen-Z is in danger of losing these friendships as boys and girls in their cohort are increasingly moving further apart politically.

As always, #itsokaytovent

You can follow Susie on social media below:

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Music: PatawawaStrange


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