Why is Suicide in Men on the Rise Around the World?
Suicide rates in men have been on a rising trend for the last 30 years. Due to the pandemic, these numbers can still not be chalked up to the last one and a half years. This is a severe ever-present issue in our society today and has been rearing its ugly head for decades. Recent studies have shown an increase in suicide rates in men in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and many other countries. There is a growing concern among researchers to bring down these numbers, and there is the urgency to spread awareness about mental health in various circles.
Studies show that even though women have a higher tendency to suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts, men always get the job done in more violent circumstances. When it comes to suicidal thoughts and patterns, men are more determined and concrete in their decision. Suicide is prevalent in both men and women; however, for the purpose of this article, we will be discussing the psychology, risk factors, and treatment pertaining to suicide in men.
The Stigma Around Suicidal Men
There is no denying that there was a dominant culture of toxic masculinity where men were seen as weak for expressing emotions until a few years ago. You have definitely heard the saying “real men don’t cry” over and over while growing up. Either to yourself, your brothers, or your other guy friends. Researchers believe that all this contributes to men refusing to seek professional help for mental health problems, as derivative as it sounds. While women are expected to display every emotion, men are taught to bury their feelings deep down.
There is also an onus on men to be the breadwinners of their families. They are expected to keep it together when things may be falling apart. They are expected to be strong on every occasion and provide financial relief in times of distress. Despite the rise in mental health awareness and gender non-conformity, these are just some untold pressures men still face today.
These gender roles have given rise to a social stigma that does not allow our fathers or brothers to feel weak at any moment. This probably answers the question about why women have a higher diagnoses number for depression than men. Men don’t get diagnosed. Several risk factors affect men fare more than they do women. These risk factors eventually lead up to suicidal thoughts or attempts. It can be one or a culmination of these factors. It is also proven that often, men are unaware of these risk factors and hence may not seek out help from mental health professionals.
We have already discussed the most significant risk factor to suicide in men, i.e., receiving help for mental illness. Let’s discuss some other prevalent risk factors. Note that all of these are very intricately related to one another.
Alcohol is more often than not a magic potion used to drown out people’s worries. However, a gateway to alcoholism is to drink to self-medicate. Many people will have a drink or two after a long day at work to relax and feel calmer. The situation gets out of hand once a person is drinking every hour to function in society better. Men are more likely to self-medicate with alcohol. Alcoholism comes with a lot of co-morbidities, including anxiety and depression. It can also lead to suicidal thoughts and worries.
Alcoholic men also get shunned from society deepening their despairs. This does not only apply to alcohol but is the same for any kind of substance abuse disorder or addiction. Severe addiction may result in being shunned by society and having to go through life alone.
2. Economic Downfall
We see in many marriages that happened 20 or 30 years ago, it was the man who used to go out, work, and earn for their entire families. On average, each family would have 6 to 7 members. This combines with the instability of world economies. Many good, hardworking men have been let go simply because manpower is being replaced via technology.
In many industries, there is no more a need for skills that cannot integrate with technology. In the mid of 2020, we saw the onset of great economic devastation worldwide where many businesses closed down, and people were forced to change their line of work. That amount of pressure alone is substantial to drive someone to be a suicide risk if they don’t receive proper treatment.
3. Shunned from Society
Most men that commit suicide are labeled as social pariahs. Divorced men, men out of jobs, and men with crippling social anxiety are candidates for clinical depression. Pornography addiction is also one such situation where men will refuse to build meaningful relationships and instead become attached to their computer screens, using it as a way to achieve satisfaction. Suffering from social anxiety is one such factor when it comes to being addicted to porn.
This can lead to being labeled as an outcast. We are most vulnerable when we are alone. There is a high risk for suicide in men that feel as if everyone in the world is against them, even their family members.
It might not always be the person you most expect to be losing their sanity from inside. Research shows that highly successful people in high-paying executive-level positions can also tend to self-isolate from friends, family, and romantic partners. Money can never replace the feeling of comfort that people can give us. Hence, more often than not, these self-isolated men will find themselves in depression but still keep working all day towards their goals.
This can lead to blatant disregard towards mental health and induce suicidal tendencies. These risk factors are essential and need to be considered when diagnosing mental health issues in men. There might be even more underlying factors causing the depression. However, therapists are trained to take everything into account for diagnosis.
If you are someone suffering from depression and prone to any of these risk factors, the best thing you can do is to seek help. Society can and does pressure men into thinking that they will be seen as weak if they see a therapist for their mental health. If you face this stigma and are uncomfortable with going to see a therapist, then there is a secondary option that works just as well. Online therapy is known to help people confront their issues and lead them to a path of healing. It is a more straightforward, stress-free way of comfortably seeking out help on your own terms.
It can get very strenuous to find a good therapist that understands you and is willing to give you the treatment you deserve. Online therapy takes away the hassle of making appointments, driving out to meet the therapist, and eventually turning down the option. There is more leniency in planning your appointments at your convenience. Studies have found that online therapy has the same effectiveness as in-person therapy.
A therapist, either way, will help you work out your issues and analyze them at their root. It won’t be an easy task. However, therapy for mental health has fantastic benefits. It is important to give men the space to own up to and talk about their issues, just as we give women the space and time. As a man, it is essential to understand that you are still a person with inhibitions, hopes, dreams, and weaknesses. You deserve to get the help you need.
Secondly, paired with therapy, journaling is also a fantastic complementary exercise that boosts the healing process. Journaling is an excellent way to express your anxieties and fears on your own terms. It is a meditative process that allows you to tell your story. Journaling has been known to help people with anxiety disorders, PTSD, addiction, and depression. Your therapist may even recommend you start a daily online journal in conjunction with online therapy.
You can write down your affirmations, your goals for therapy, or even write about what you discussed in treatment on that day. It can allow you to create a mind map to place your thoughts and feelings. Journaling can sometimes bring out the emotions in us that even we weren’t aware of in the first place. That is to say, it can get very overwhelming at times since everything that gets written takes on a more physical and realistic form. It is a day-to-day process. This is why you must be patient and willing to be consistent.
Lastly, a lot of men go through mental health issues regarding depression and suicidal thoughts. Remember that you are not alone and that there is not something inherently wrong with you. However, it is essential to seek out help to be a better person for ourselves and the people we care about.
JournalOwl is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, medication, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptoms or conditions. JournalOwl is not authorized to make recommendations about medication or serve as a substitute for professional advice. You should never disregard professional psychological or medical advice, or delay in seeking treatment, based on anything you read on JournalOwl’s website or platform.