Professor Green, otherwise known as Stephen Manderson is an incredibly influential and well-known rapper born and bred in Hackney, East London. His rise to success has been documented by career-defining albums such as Alive Till I’m Dead and his most recent, Growing Up in Public. However, life for Manderson has not always been a steady ride; left in the care of his infamous ‘Nanny Pat’ after being abandoned by his struggling parents, he grew up around influences of gang culture and drugs. Despite partaking in said culture as a teenager, Manderson began developing his music skills through a hobby of rap battling, which ultimately led him to the stellar career he has today.
Just this year, Professor Green released an autobiography entitled Lucky. It details of his rocky childhood, drug dealings and blossoming romance with the ex-Made in Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh. But what it also exposes is the sheer brutality associated with his father’s death; his suicide.
In his recent documentary, ‘Suicide and Me’, Manderson sets out to uncover the reasons behind not only his father’s suicide, but the issue as a whole and its rise within the male gender. In the opening sequence, we are exposed to the fact that out of all suicides committed in the year 2014, a staggering 76% were committed by men. As surprising as that statistic may be, it exhibits the emergence of male suicide and depression and forces us to confront the issue, now more than ever.
Recent studies carried out by mental health charity, Calm, reveal that although suicide affects both genders, it is more common among men and the ratio of male to female suicide has shown a sustained rise over the last 30 years. A source from the Guardian reveals that “a study published by the British Journal of Health Psychology, in January this year, found that men who said they were less likely to seek help with mental health concerns were also more likely to endorse traditional masculine ideology, more likely to find it harder to express their emotions and more likely to fear intimacy.”
Men, as a gender, have been known to bottle up emotions and refuse to address this male stigma of being branded as weak for talking about their issues. However, due to the awareness this documentary and Professor Green’s recent public appearances have raised, here at The Edge we’re beginning to question: Is this the beginning of the end? Will we finally rid ourselves of the stigma and encourage men to open up, without fear of judgement?
With suicide being the single biggest killer for men under the age of 45, I believe it’s up to you. The way we react in certain situations can make an enormous difference, whether we realise it or not. For a noticeable change to occur, it is up to us to make the small changes necessary to overcoming this concept of males being seen as vulnerable or weak for talking about something that we see to be out of the ordinary. If we want society as a whole to change its definition of what it means to be a ‘man’, we need to change ours.
If someone as supposedly ‘tough’ and ‘manly’ as Professor Green is capable of sharing a story so deep and personal, admitting to hours of therapy and opening up about his battle with depression, with so little judgement or backlash, each of us need to ensure we extend all men the same courtesies.