Suicide Rate in Men – (Why is it three times higher than for women?)

Three times as many women attempt suicide than men, and yet three times as men complete the act

When I first started researching the suicide rate for men, after Robin William’s death, I initially thought that it was higher than for women because men don’t talk. I had also already made the assumption that a higher suicide rate was the correlated with the attempted suicide rate. However more women attempt suicide than men. T the reason more men complete the act is thought to be because men choose more violent means, and are therefore far more successful.

There is also a correlation between blood alcohol levels and suicide. A lot more men self-medicate with alcohol (and drugs) when depressed than women. Alcohol lowers our inhibitions, so we might want to follow through more because the rational part of our mind is reduced even further:

“Intoxication produces increased impulsiveness and a weakening of normal restraints against dangerous behaviour”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6648755 [Accessed on 30 November 2014]

It could also be that although more women attempt suicide, maybe they are less sure and still have some hope, and so don’t intend to fully complete the act. The suicide rate has been shown to be lower in people who have sought out talking therapies, and more women seek support like talking therapies than men. It could also be true that when people attempt suicide their intentions are at varying levels, from:

  • wanting to commit suicide with zero hope left, to
  • someone who has more hope and is therefore less sure, in this instance they are not 100% sure they want to die

Women tend to use less violent forms like pills to attempt suicide, which can be more easily treated, whereas the more violent methods tend to be more final.

This issue is hugely complex. The problem with studies / research is that they look at a large group of people, and a conclusion is made about that group based on findings, these findings give birth to statistics. Statistics can never say what will happen for a single individual.

In one piece of research I read, there was an area where there were a lot of homicides by men. In this same area, the suicide rate were next to nothing. This could imply that men might express difficulties with anger. At the most extreme, internalised anger might lead to suicide, and externalised anger to homicide. Maybe then there is a middle way where men with excess anger learn to get to the root of the anger, and to manage the remaining anger.

If anger is leading to suicide in men, then what are they angry about?

In conclusion I can only say that this is a very complex area, which is beyond research, but which includes research. We must be careful making snap judgements about what a certain statistic means.

Maybe this is what we need to do for men:

  • Men don’t tend to seek help, whereas women do. Therefore try and get men to engage more with support
  • Try and help men address and manage their anger, as anger is possibly why more men succeed in the act of suicide

Obviously more needs to be done for women too, as more are attempting suicide. We as the human race can’t leave out any particular gender or race when trying to address suicide. Let’s work together.

Information Sources: Stats on suicide (lots of other sources were used, however I’ve only put this one up for now, as initially I didn’t put any sources up, but someone asked for at least one, so here it is!).

If you are feeling suicidal or distressed then you can find a suicide hotline number here: http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html or if you don’t feel like speaking then read this: http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/

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