It’s a topic that doesn’t get much attention, but it also isn’t getting any better. In 2014, male suicide accounted for 76% of all worldwide suicides. It is considered the silent epidemic, as men are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than women, but it largely goes on without much attention or, much needed, discussion.
Fortunately, the death rates for cancer, diabetes, and stroke have been decreasing for men in recent years, but suicide has become more prominent. According to a study done at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide rates for men have increased 24% from 1994 to 2014. Suicide rates for middle aged men, between ages 45 to 64, shot up an unbelievable 43% during that same time frame.
It’s hard to pinpoint an exact reason for this increase in suicides, but one reason could be that our country has seen its fair share of financial troubles. Between 1994 and 2014 there has been a recession, outsourcing, job loss in general. Many people have been affected by financial stresses of our country over the years and this may be a contributing factor to why the suicide numbers are so high.
Another possible reason for this spike could like in many men’s defiance to seek out professional help for a mental or emotional problem. There is a general feeling among many men in the United States that they don’t need help and they need to just push through any emotional distress they feel. Some men may feel that seeking help is a sign of weakness and they should be able to solve their problems on their own and “man up.” Others may not even be sure of how they feel or don’t want to make it a big deal by seeking counseling.
It’s important for men who are feeling overwhelmed by their current situation, be it financial or emotional, to reach out for help. A great resource is a close friend, spouse, or family member to keep relationships close and help ward off intense feelings of loneliness, but it’s always a good idea to reach out to a doctor for additional help.
Signs of depression in men can vary greatly, but the warning signs include changes in sleep cycle, increases in substance abuse, and lost interest in activities once loved.
The most important thing to remember is there is no shame or weakness in reaching out for help and that suicide is never the right answer.