Soften The Fck Up

This is a statistic that blew my mind: suicide is the leading cause of death among young people, especially young males. Soften the Fck Up is a new campaign dedicated to reducing that problem, and I think it's an awesome idea.

Coming from Scotland, the land where men mostly communicate in unintelligible grunts, I understand the idea that these guys are trying to combat - that men shouldn't talk about the things that worry them, that they should just suck it up, or 'harden the f*** up'.

This is a great campaign and I thoroughly recommend checking out the site. Yes, I know, it's not games - but so many of our readers fall into the young male demographic, and I thought this might be of interest.

Soften the Fck Up


    Good thing they're trying. It's no fun having to pretend you don't have feelings most of the time. Wish girls weren't such pricks to guys who open up, like at all.

      First of all, it's so awesome to see our campaign here on Kotaku!

      I'm one of the speakers in the video and a blogger for the campaign so I'm pumped to see it getting a shout out on one of my favourite websites.

      Cats, sucks to hear your expereinces make you feel that way. Mate, I can tell you from experience not all girls are like that. In fact, a lot of them dig a guy who can open up. Hell, I could tell you stories! But mate, if the girls you're opening up to aren't appreciating the fact you're a human being with feelings, dont take it on board - it's cool to be soft.

        Cheers, I have to say for all the complaints girls make on needing to be open, I've almost never seen a girl who didn't say the equivalent of "deal with it" even if she had the same issues herself.

        Nice people otherwise, just totally hypocritical when comes to guys

    I agree, I couldn't believe it when I heard the suicide statistics. It's a real shame and, I believe, causing much harm that mainstream media outlets do very little to bring suicide to the attention of the public. Without it, people are unaware of the support networks in place for people in need.

    If it weren't such a taboo topic, people might feel more able to come forward and discuss their own feelings or those of others about whom they are concerned.

    Kudos for posting this, Mark!

    Ugh, i hate video campaigns filmed like this.
    I.e: same script with 5-10 different actors ala george clooney clicking his fingers with bono.
    Its old, surely we can communicate a point a slightly differently by now.

      you're complaining about the way this anti-suicide campaign is filmed? cool. no-one's forcing you to watch any of these, and certainly no-one's forcing you to watch it again.

        you’re complaining about the way this guy complained about an anti-suicide film? cool. no-one’s forcing you to read any of these comments, and certainly no-one’s forcing you to read them again.

          They're expressing their opinion, I'm expressing mine, Mr. or Ms. McIrony. I just happen to think that the comment I responded to was petty, reductive and ignorant of the issues that this campaign is dealing with.

    One thing I was researching before I unceremoniously booted myself out of my postgrad study was the crisis of masculinity.

    Essentially part of the problem (and generalising a lot here) is that women expect men to be one thing (in domestic life, that's essentially your typical SNAG), but men expect men to be something else (the word I usually use to get my point across is 'bloke').

    This constant tension between conflicting identities, not to mention the fact that no one knows precisely what either of them mean, nor what a 'real' man should be like, leaves men lost and alone, and unable to even know themselves.

    Couple that with real world problems, and guess what: suicide risk.

    Great campaign, pleased to see it mentioned anywhere.

      I think the problem is, men haven't really evolved from our primate cousins :P

        I think this is probably true ... to some extent. Civilisation suits the natural homemaking primitive drives of the female, but not of the violent hunter/gatherer male.

        Though, again, generalisation. :)

          Tue inherent problem is, with all our technological advancements, we have yet to get ourselves by the old "if you show weakness, people will put you down" kind of attitude.
          Which I think totally stems from the whole animalistic side of the wild that only the strong survive.

      Shane, I once read or heard someone say that 'Men are taught how to be men by the ways they are not women'.

      I think there's been a long running fracture in the mentality of male generations of how to be a man. We are taught to bottle up but our women beg for us to let it out.

      Very confusing for men everywhere.

    you trends can show some pretty interesting statistics...

    Try typing "How to commit suicide" in google trends and look at the top ten cities GLOBALLY that search that term the most...

      Tempted to make a joke about my home city being no. 1, but there's really nothing funny about it. Scary.

      gman you just blew my mind.

      And Mark good post, it takes more balls to own up to how you feel than to hide it.

      Remember, that only shows the results for people who searched the term in English.

      As a fellow Brisbanite that scares the fuck outta me. Number 1 city in the world? There's something seriously wrong here.

      Pretty scary that three in the top ten are in Australia, and comparatively small when you look at some of the others...

    Having known a few people who took their own lives, I support.

    Guhh Muhhagghggh Grr Mon The Hoops Grrr hughhr

    pretty good timing i just came back fro mmy psychologist and got some anti depressants and am now seeing a councilor

    So I figure I'll probably bare my soul a little here...

    I've gone through some pretty severe depression through my years, leading up to some extremely bad depressive 'crashes' at the start of the year where I was close to taking my life on numerous occasions.

    While things are a far cry from how they used to be now that I'm getting help, it was me and me alone who had to claw out of the deep hole I felt like I was drowning in.

    Had it not been for my own willpower I may not be here today - with the stigma of depression and suicide it very much feels like a taboo topic that people will take a wide berth around.

    I sometimes wish I had outside support or someone to lend a helping hand so I didn't have to go things alone and suffer silently for so long.

    Despite the cheesiness of this campaign, the underlying message is important - we need to start talking about suicide and depression isntead of covering it up and pretending it doesn't exist. It happens to the best of us, to the worst of us, and everybody needs a shoulder to cry on or a helping hand every so often. It is nothing to be ashamed of.

    So I'm probably going to feel super sheepish after I have posted this but I think it needs to be out there. It needs to be acknowledged that depression happens, and it's something we can talk about with other people before it is too late.

      "it was me and me alone who had to claw out of the deep hole I felt like I was drowning in"

      see to me this reflects a real frustration with how people who haven't dealt with issues like depression perceive those who do. They always seem to insist "You have to drag yourself out of the hole. Nobody else can help you until you help yourself." I don't know if they ever really stop to think that climbing out of any deep, dark and muddy hole unassisted is incredibly difficult, even if the hole is figurative!

      (it also doesn't help if they worry and react strangely if your humour tends towards the sarcastic on your good days, and yet assume you're just joking inappropriately if you state explicitly that you're having problems!)

      It's good you roll high on your willpower saves though.

      I think the best part of the Internet is, you can have close bonds with people, yet still feel distanced, therefore more comfortable and open in these sort of aspects.
      I know I've told stuff to people online I'd have never mentioned to real life friends.
      Thanks for posting.

      Don't feel sheepish, you're Anonymous!

      Good work on getting the ball rolling, AP, the problem is it's not easy for anyone to talk about this sort of thing, especially guys, but it builds confidence to see someone else come forward.

      I don't think I ever had clinical depression, but there were several times, especially during high school, when I felt despondant, alone and truly believed I would remain so until I my rope ran out.
      I didn't reach out either because I didn't want to bother anyone or I didn't think I was worth helping.

      Ultimately, sharing and letting people who think they are alone know they aren't helps as much as getting people to stop holding back theiir thoughts and feelings.

      Mad props to you Pess, it takes a lot of bravery to be open about this stuff.

    Great post mark

    Im all for the idea.
    its a little hard for me to understand, as someone that had a hard upbringing i have very limited emotional range -angry -happy -hungry
    (my personal opinion is that the world is becoming too soft, political correctness is crazy these days)

    but if it helps people that need it great, there's no sense in wasting a life.

    I wrote about this recently, on an Aussie videogame forum, and there was a good discussion from it.

    A few people really opened up with some personal stuff, so I'd say.. the campaign did the job.

    Well done.

    And - massive thumbs Mark, for bringing things 'of importance to' rather than just 'of interest to' Kotaku readers.

    I battled depression myself and contemplated suicide (thoughts I now deeply regret) and for me, personally, being told to soften the fuck up was just as likely to send me over the edge as being told to harden the fuck up. In the mental state I was in back then anything that could be perceived as an insult, whether it was meant in seriousness, jokingly or helpfulness (like this campaign), would absolutely shatter what little self esteem I had left.

    I applaud them for what they're trying to do, I really do. It's just that I'm not sure they're going about it the right way.

    I came across the flyers in Newtown the other day. It grabbed my attention and read the whole thing, really impressed with the marketing. Good cause as well.

    Despite the blipvert cliche presentation that others have commented on, I like the idea. Its kind of like It Gets Better for closeted normal people forced by the pressures of an idiot focussed society to act like boofheads

    I too have been through the all too common "If I had a shotgun I'd have pulled a Kobain" problem and still fight with it but talking is definitely helpful. I ended up making a bitch about life thread in the forum I frequent after a particularly nasty few days and happily it helped a heap of people to just vent their frustrations. Weird to take pride in a forum post but its still doing its job

    Im not a fan of the slogan not the idea that harden the fuck up is a problem because i cant you right now when it comes to mental problems you never tell anyone to "harden the fuck up" thats just insenative.

    Harden the Fuck up is what you say when someone is upset that its raining and that you and them have to work outside in the rain. that sort of thing.

    What people need to be taught in school and those boring as batshit suicide prevent OH&S lessons is that quite simply its not the end of the world nor is it worth it and that theres always alternatives.

    Top form Kotaku, I think it's completely relevant to the gamer demograph. Issues like this aren't often brought up, and I'm glad to see you guys raising awareness =D.

    The LAST thing we need is for Aussie men to get any "softer".

    It's not being "soft" to get help for serious issues, but I wish they had chosen a different slogan for their campaign.

      "The LAST thing we need is for Aussie men to get any 'softer'"

      Would you care to elaborate on this? I think that if anything, aussie males need to get away from the hard 'bloke' persona.

      As for my story, I've been battling mental illness for the last decade. I've had times when suicide seemed to be the best way out. Luckily I never took it that far, but often I'd go to bed wishing I wouldn't wake up.

      Last year I lost a friend to suicide, even with my own history, I had no idea that she intended to take her own life. I had spoken to her only hours before. She seemed fine.

      Unfortunately, people who suffer from mental illness often don't tell anyone. In my case, I didn't want to bother anyone with my 'bullsh*t'. My self esteem was that shot, I didn't think the mess in my head was important enough to burden other people with.

      Im now getting the help that I need, and keeping in contact with my GP and regular appointments with a psychologist, combined with medication has helped me learn to cope with my psychotic episodes of depression.

      There's no shame in telling someone that you're not coping. I'd implore anyone that thinks there might be something wrong with their mental health to tell someone. Don't suffer it alone.

      "It’s not being “soft” to get help for serious issues"

      I'm glad you can see this but a lot of Aussie guys can't. And honestly I have no clue what you're talking about when you say men shouldn't get any softer? Is this a comment related to fashion? Or dudes not doing as much DIY handyman junk? Not fixing stuff with their own hands? Not being into sport or something?

      I mean maybe you mean something else, but none of those have the slightest thing to do with being "soft" (whatever the frak that even means). Maybe you value "traditional" measures of manliness, but they are a massive problem in our society that are primarily used to deny men of what they truly are. If you identify as a Man then that's all the evidence you need to be called a Man.

      Regardless any slogan other than the one they used would not be anywhere near as good. "Harden the fuck up" is such a commonly used phrase to silence people and tell them to not express themselves, and "Soften the fuck up" not only carries impact but it reclaims the original phrase and twists it into a positive message, rather than the extreme negative of "Harden the fuck up."

    Great post and great comments.

    I too have been really shocked at suicide statistics. I recently found out myself that the rate ammoungst LGBT youth is about 4 times higher.

    But I abosultely agree with Lobo when he says don't suffer alone. I've had issues related to mental illness for a long time and I was so surprised at the help that was out there, once I had put my hand up and admitted I needed it.

    This campaign is great and is absolutely related to gaming and gamers. Sometimes there seems to be a culture that blokes only play the hardest and bloodiest shooters around and those who don't are, "Pussies."

    Soften the f*ck up, go and play Flower.

    I too (think you were right on the demographic here Mark) have/do suffer from depression. And AnonymousPessimist and Mad Danny are right about the hole you have to claw out of at times. Even with a great wife who I can open up to and really truly wants to help, it's hard to explain it to those who have never been there...

    My personal battles have ranged from thoughts of suicide, to knowing when things are getting tense and removing myself from the situation to deal with it. And it's not always that easy. My mother in law suffers from depression, and when I first had to open up about it to her, I was put down and told by her that it can't be depression because I don't sound sad to talk to. BS.

    Anyway great to see this campaign. It hooked me, but don't know that it would make me go speak to someone if I wasn't already...
    Good luck to all of you though, both working on this and sufferers.

      The other part of the campaign isn't just the sufferers but also their friends, family and people around them.
      Even if there is a small seed planted that if somebody does say something, rather than tell them to harden up and take it on the chin they might begin to think they should soften the fck up instead.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now