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BBC – Future – Why more men than women die by suicide



Six years ago, my brother killed himself. He was 28 years old.

Tragically, suicide is not as rare as one might think. In 2016, global data from the World Health Organization (WHO) last year is available, with an estimated 793,000 deaths from suicide. Most were men.

In Britain, the suicide rate among men is the lowest since 1981 – 15.5 deaths per 100,000. Suicide, however, is still the biggest killer of men under 45 years old. In British women, the rate is one third of men: 4.9 suicides per 100,000.

This is the same in many other countries. Compared to women, men die three times more frequently in suicide in Australia, 3.5 times more frequently in the US and more than four times more frequently in Russia and Argentina. WHO data show that nearly 40% of countries have more than 1

5 deaths per 100,000 men. Only 1.5% show a high rate for women.

The trend is far behind. "As long as we took it, we saw this inequality," says psychologist Jill Harkavy-Friedman, vice president of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a health organization that supports those affected by suicide. 19659002] Suicide is a very delicate, complex issue with a multitude of causes – and the nature of suicide death means that we can never fully know the reasons for it.

However, as mental health awareness has grown there is a greater understanding of the public about possible factors. One of the questions that still persists concerns this gender gap. This seems to be particularly high as women tend to have higher rates of depression.

Women have even more suicide attempts than men. For example, in the US, adult women in the US reported 1.2 times as many men as they did on suicide attempts. However, male suicide methods are often more violent, making them more likely to shut down before anyone can intervene. Access to funds is a key factor: in the US, for example, six out of ten gun owners are men – and firearms account for more than half of suicides.

You may also like: [19659002] Men can also opt for these methods because they are more interested in completing the act. For example, a study of more than 4,000 hospital patients who had been self-harmed found that men had more suicidal intentions than women.

Why do men fight – and what can be done about it? [19659002] Risk Factors

One key element is communication. It's too easy to say that women are willing to share their problems and men tend to fill them up. However, it is true that many generations of societies have for generations encouraged men to be "strong" and not to admit that they have to fight.

It often starts in childhood. "We tell the boys that" boys do not cry, "says Colman O Driscoll, Executive Director of Operations and Development at Lifeline, an Australian charitable organization that provides 24/7 support in crisis and suicide prevention From a very young age, not expressing emotions, because expressing emotions means being weak. "

Mara Grunau, Managing Director of the Center for Suicide Prevention in Canada, points out how we talk to each other about our children and how We encourage them to communicate about themselves as well: "Mothers talk a lot more to their girls than to their boys … and they share and recognize feelings," she says. "We almost expect women to be emotional.

But men may be less likely to become vulnerable, whether to themselves, to friends, or to a family doctor, and may be more restrained than women when they see a doctor, a British British Medical Journal study found General care Consultation rates were 32% lower in men than in women (the rates of consultation for depression judged by the patients' antidepressant regimen were 8% lower in men than in women.)

"Looking for men less help for mental health, "said Harkavy-Friedman says." It's not that men do not have the same problems as women – but it's somewhat unlikely that they know they are suffering from stress or mental illness Increased risk of suicide. "

When a person" They do not even know they have a disease that si e, and then they are less aware that something could be done to help them. Only a third of the people who commit suicide are currently undergoing psychiatric treatment, "says Harkavy-Friedman.

In a dangerous manner, some men seek help from established channels to help themselves"

"There is a tendency for more substance use and alcohol use among men, which may reflect only the strain – but we know that it still exacerbates the issue of suicide," says Harkavy-Friedman.

In fact, men meet the criteria for alcohol dependence of women and women almost twice as often. But drinking can intensify depression and impulsive behavior and alcoholism reinforce a known r isk factor for suicide.

Other risk factors may be related to family or work. If there is an economic downturn that leads, for example, to increased unemployment, the suicide tends to increase – usually 18 to 24 months after the downturn. A 2015 study found that the suicide rate increases by 0.79% for every 1% increase in unemployment.

If you need to worry more about finances or look for a job, it can make mental health better for all people. But there are also elements of social pressure and the identity crisis. "We've grown up all our lives to judge ourselves compared to peers and to be economically successful," says Simon Gunning, CEO of Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm), an award-winning charity based in the United Kingdom suicide case for men: "If there are economic factors that we can not control, it will be very difficult."

There may also be a spiraling effect. For example, in the US, health insurance is often tied to employment. If a person is being treated for depression or substance abuse, they may lose this worry if they lose their job.

Another risk factor is the sense of isolation, as the doctor Thomas Joiner writes in his book, Why People Die by Suicide. This can manifest itself in all areas of life. The outwardly successful professional, who has put the career advancement to the detriment of everyone else, including the social relationships, in the foreground can be "alone at the top of the pyramid," says Grunau.

Of course it is important to remember An external factor could trigger suicidal behavior in a person who is already at risk, it is never the only cause.

"Millions of people lose their jobs, almost all of us have lost a relationship and we do not die of suicide," says Harkavy-Friedman.

Possible Solutions

For a problem with this However, there are no straightforward corrections, but a number of programs, policies, and nonprofits are making progress.

In Australia, for example, mental health groups and suicide prevention groups are attempting to shift the cultural paradigm, an initiative that has taken hold RU OK? Day that encourages people to support those who are struggling with life by starting a conversation Another approach is the "shoulder to shoulder" principle – encouraging men to talk while they are busy elsewhere, such as watching football or riding bicycles, Mates in Construction, a training and support program ram, raises awareness of high rates of suicide in the industry, and shows construction workers how they can help them be part of the solution.

Overall, the emphasis is on "Men are OK to talk about how they feel – and that this is recognized as a sign of strength," says O & # 39; Driscoll.

Technology also presents new possibilities: Not everyone wants to relieve themselves of another person through a helpline But artificial intelligence – such as chatbots – could allow a vulnerable person to communicate without fear of court and receive the help, he needs.

Another strategy is to focus on the effects of suicide on relatives. so called to represent the 84 men who die weekly from suicide in the UK – emphasizes the leftover devastation. This may counteract the feeling of some men that "it is the right thing to take oneself out of the equation," Gunning says emphasizing, "Staying is always an option."

Other solutions have to do with easy-to-use complicate suicides to complete. For example, after installing barriers on the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, England, it was found that the number of deaths was halved by bridging the bridge – and there was no indication that suicide was due to jumps from other locations in the area Environment served as a reaction.

Obviously more needs to be done.

O Driscoll compares that reducing traffic fatalities is often given more attention than suicide prevention, although suicide costs more lives. In Australia, for example, the suicide rate in 2015 was 12.6 per 100,000 – the highest rate in over a decade – compared to 4.7 per 100,000 in traffic accidents.

More research is needed. "Of course," says Harkavy-Friedman, "there are differences between women and men in our biology, in our hormonal structure, and in the way our brain develops and works." But men and women are often examined together, despite statistical control The differences are not enough. She believes that we have to study men and women separately.

However, there are positive signs. Harkavy-Friedman notes a big change on the professional side. She reminded that at the beginning of her career it was difficult to accept a suicide paper because it was thought that suicide could not be prevented, she says. Now we know that's wrong.

It also points to greater government involvement than ever before. At the World Mental Health Day in 2018, the British government announced its first Minister for Suicide Prevention. "Great Britain was one step ahead of the game," she says, adding that the suicide rate in the UK has dropped because a national strategy has been implemented.

Also for Grunau The situation is unquestionably better. "We see a dynamic we have never seen before," she says. "You can actually talk about suicide, and people are still twitching, but they're more willing to lead the conversation."

That had positive effects showing decline in British suicides. Nevertheless, it is not enough. Any life lost through suicide – male or female – is one life too many.

If you or someone you know is affected by this story, here are some resources that can help.

In the United Kingdom and Ireland:

The Samaritans are open 24 hours a day. Call: 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org

The campaign against the misery of life ( Calm ) offers support to men. Call 0800 58 58 58 daily between 17:00 and 00:00 or visit the web chat page here .

In the US:

If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800 -273-TALK (8255) or by text to the Crisis Text Line TALK to 741741 .

In Australia:

Call Lifeline under 1311 14 or . 19659045] seven days a week every night.

In Canada:

If you are in a crisis, call 1-833-456-4566 (4357) or text 45645. For more information on suicide prevention, see Center for Suicide Prevention.

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