SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Paddy Pimblett secured his third straight victory at UFC London on July 23, and he took the opportunity to share an important message.
During his post-fight interview, Pimblett said prior to the weigh-in for the fight the day before, he learned he had lost a friend to suicide.
“There’s a stigma in this world that men can’t talk,” he said. “Listen, if you’re a man and you’ve got weight on your shoulders, and you think the only way you can solve it is by killing yourself, please speak to someone. Speak to anyone… I know I’d rather my mate cry on my shoulder than go to his funeral next week. So please, let’s get rid of this stigma, and men, start talking.”
Pimblett’s words resonated with people all over the world, even mental health professionals. Tracey Marchese, a Professor in the School of Social Work at Syracuse University was not only moved by his speech, but she whole-heartedly agreed.
“Depression and suicide are some of the leading causes of death in men,” she said. “And even the people who complete suicide, the rate is about four times higher in men than it is in women.”
Marchese says this is largely due to the fact that our culture has a specific idea of how men are “supposed” to act.
“I mean think about the phrase ‘man up,’ ” she said. “Men are essentially, and I don’t want to stereotype and say all men are treated this way, but if we look at the big picture in society, this is what we see. It’s a weakness to show that you have signs of mental illness or that you’re not coping well.”
She says that when it comes to seeking help, whether it is through medication, or just talking about it like Pimblett mentioned, it should be looked at the same way you look at treatment for any other illness.
“Would you not take diabetes medication? Would you not take insulin?” she asked.
“So to think that depression is looked at differently as if somehow you’re causing it or you’re weak because you can’t handle your problems is absurd.”
She said that seeing a prominent figure in sports like Pimblett speak out was incredible, and the reaction he received for saying it was even better.
“I heard the crowd cheering for him when he said it,” she said. “That’s the other piece that was so important. It’s not that he was just saying it and up there doing it. He was in a crowd of people, and the things he was talking about, it wasn’t just about him. It was about what he was saying.”