The suicide gap: Why men are more likely to kill themselves

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  1. Sharon

    This article contains good information and resources. As a mother of a son who died by suicide I would love to see these same experts and resources turn their expertise and research experience towards what I believe to be perhaps the biggest, darkest secret attached to suicide and the rising epidemic of it … MEDICATION!! The medication itself which is often prescribed as the save-all tool of treatment can help to contribute to suicide. This phenomena is under-reported and under-researched. Little or no data is collected on this. Prescription medication – whose packaging itself includes disclaimers of the adverse effects – can be, has been and is the culprit in an unknown % of suicide and suicide attempts. If we are going to tackle this growing epidemic head-on … let’s look at ALL potential contributing factors.

    • Paul

      I’m sorry for your loss and in this world, being a man does kinda suck but your son shouldn’t feel like a failure. I know I’m not superman but I don’t discriminate. It’s hard to trust someone if you want to have to talk to someone. I have experienced suicidal thoughts myself and I’ve talked to someone about it despite being a man myself. Your son isn’t alone on this and shouldn’t have to be. Remember this, I’m only 21 and not 47. It doesn’t matter how old you are, people will try to attack you anyway they could.

      • Sam

        Men try the more lethal way to end themselves
        Women try the less lethal ways that even if worked have a higher chance of being saved

        Also sorry for anyone who has suffered from a loved one dying I’ve had my teacher and close friends turn dark and some ended badly with their life gone or other hurt

    • John

      I’m so sorry to hear about that. I agree medication is a real problem in many cases. I was prescribed this stuff in the 90s when I was a moderately depressed teenager. I became suicidal after trying the pills. I stopped and told the doctor. They refused to hear me and said the suicidal feelings were proof I needed the pills, and I had to try again. So I did, and again the same feeling. The doctors still refused to listen and were very condescending about it. A few years later all the warnings started getting added to the boxes saying exactly what I’d been trying to tell these pigheaded doctors.

      • Mee

        I feel so bad. Don’t think that u r a failer. I know it’s hard but think that. U r a amazing person. Think positive.

    • Andreas newitsch

      I think for some medicine can make depression worse it did for me. I stopped taking it. Then switched to adhd meds then changed adhd meds had what seemed like a stroke weeks in on the new meds. So now I’m just expressing how I feel more even though my wife may not like what I have to say. Dialog is important. No such thing as a stupid question. Even though I feel people ask questions they do know the answer to. Just to talk.

    • WakeUpPeople

      Absolutely it is the medication. 100% correct. My ex husband killed himself while taking antidepressants as the doctor kept prescribing them to him. Doctors these days are about the money not the well being of an individual. The first question they ask in a doctors office is, “Are you depressed?” Because they don’t want you leaving the office without a script. Same with the pharmaceutical companies. All they see are dollar signs.

      • Mee

        I feel so bad. Don’t think that u r a failer. I know it’s hard but don’t think that. U r a amazing person. Think positive.

  2. frank

    maybe the suicide rate is so high because of the gender bias faced by men in our family court system….maybe we need to seek out that large elephant in the room and address/confront it head on.

    • Jesse Garcia

      100% agreed!!!! Maybe if the family courts would stop ripping families apart for their shareof the cash cow. Many men would live and thrive even in the most poverty stricken areas, why? Because they have meaning and don’t have a money hungry court system forcing young men and women to grow up without fathers.

  3. sam plover

    I think if Psychiatry was not the model it is today, where every behaviour or word or human emotion is diagnosed as mental illness, which is worse than having a criminal record, more people would want to talk to someone.
    The pills dished out, the silly diagnosis themselves cause more harm than good.
    The problem is if any man mentions suicide, his feelings are validated by being able to ‘hold’ him. We need a system where much of human distress or thoughts, feelings are not made into pathological issues, but human issues.
    Now everyone has to pretend they are superhuman. It helps to be in powerful positions since then you can hide by control.
    Stigma is reignited by just talking about stigma. The very people that talk about reducing stigma are flaming fires. Stigma exists because of the silliest diagnosis. The man who wants to commit suicide does not need a diagnosis.
    He does not even need control or pills. Those pills are the next biggest lie to the DSM.
    Even the doctors don’t believe in that model. Suicide has always been around and is on the rise. It is not against the law.
    It hurts families. But we can’t fix it with current models of psychiatry. The current model stinks and ruins lives forever.
    The best fix is a close friend, but even they cannot prevent what is felt as a tragedy by those left behind.
    It is extremely dangerous to prescribe any pills to a person in crisis. It is a well known fact that they do not work. Feelings are in movement, people grow, change is happening until we die. Diagnosis is useless because of the fluid nature of life.

    We know by our intellect that psychiatry as a current model will not survive.
    Intellect and a belief system and education are worlds apart.
    Psychiatry needs to let the pen go and identify and open up to their equal which is a human being in pain across from them. They cannot stop a suicide anyway, so why not simply become a mensch. But then that is a personality thing and cannot be taught.

  4. Charles

    The problem is that even when men reach out for help they get shouted down by everyone around them.. and now the world post 2014 has just gotten cruler and meaner and only getting worse as society divides more… even my parents have been turned against me and no one seems to care about anyone else even when your desperately trying to reach out for help…

  5. Jay

    I get sick every time people call depression a mental Illness……I am depressed because I was raped when I was a 3 year old boy, not because my brain is diseased! That’s why I don’t care to seek any help.

    • Tyler

      I totally understand. Your mad, your angry and the stupid label society wants to put on you doesn’t fit. When I first spoke out about my abuse life just got worse but it’s the only way to heal your sole. We as men need to listen to each other and not be judgmental or afraid

  6. Tyler

    Family court in this country is literally killing men. It’s destroying children lives and not only allowing women to abuse men but seems to encourage it. The lack of equality is a very depressing state of affairs. Just a small piece of evidence to thus fact is the brochure for a protection order. Yes it says these laws apply to men in the last sentences of the brochure but to look at he pictures of the 4 females of the cover and then read the brochure it’s hard to get a sense these laws apply for men. 25 year of 50/50 domestic abuse but not one shelter for men and children in this country

  7. Gary Warburton

    Could it be you never hear about the attempts at suicide that men make.

  8. Bently

    Really? You are not sure why men end their lives at a certain age? At any moment my Male pattern baldness genes could kick in, making progressing in my career or finding a wife extremely difficult, and no one will care, and if I did end my life, I would be too ashamed to let that be the reason. Get serious.

    • Mr Paquet

      Absolutely agree with this. I would never take my own life, but this is the only thing that made me consider it

  9. Zipzap

    Many men are topping themselves because they live in a society that keeps crapping all over them, and telling them that they are evil and responsible for everything that goes wrong in the world, yet it keeps expecting these same men to put their noses to the grindstone and do all the heavy lifting. Add in anti-male laws and divorce courts and a constant diet of misandry in the media and popular culture to the mix for added effect.

    It’s a case of having all responsibilities, but no rights and no respect.

    We keep endlessly talking about the problem of male suicide but then we have situations like this:

    “People are always contacting me, like ‘I need some help, but I can’t pay,’ and I’m handcuffed, there’s no one to send them to,”

    If we were truly serious about beginning to address the problem, then we would find a way to make sure that men get the help and therapy they need without worrying about whether they can pay or not.

  10. AKATA

    Thank you… I’m sitting here right now targeted by my own self pity. This gives some hope.

  11. miisha

    For men the cause is not just depression but situational depression. The term is called FCDD. “family court disenfranchised disorder.” Family court literally destroys many mens lives

    For teenage boys and girls the cause is not just depression but situational depression. The term is called NADD or NFD. “Never adopted disorder,” or “no father disorder.” Children born out of wedlock have no rights, hence the term illegitimate, and 70 % of children who grow up without fathers lived destroyed lives

    all though these terms are made up, they describe the matters more accurately

  12. Jayden

    The sad thing in life for men is this: Men will almost forever think that we can’t cry, we can’t show our vulnerabilities, we can’t show any sad or depressed feelings to the world because we’ll feel like we’re going to be made fun of, insulted, mentally abused, etc. Us men feel the need to always be tough, no matter what happens, and sometimes we can do that,
    some of us can’t keep it up like that our whole lives. It’s saddening to know that so many men feel this way, including me, feeling like we can do it, but then figuring out later that all the things that we’ve done were slowly destroying ourselves our whole lives. We then feel like we’re misunderstood, misused, left to die on the inside. It’s hard to deal and cope with, and most of us hate the fact that we have to feel like a “man” in order for us to feel better about ourselves.

  13. Orion314

    This idea that men have a safe place to report suicidal feelings is insane. Try telling a doctor or a priest you are considering chewing on a gun barrel, taking an O.D. , or hanging your self, and you’ll have have a SWAT team kicking down your door before you know it. There is no privacy or confidentiality.

  14. Pete

    That age gap 40-60 …..because after 50 , the second chances that youth used to provide ….. ARE GONE . fyi = turned 50 2/12/19

    • Cfein

      Hope you’re okay. That you found help.

  15. Sara Finders

    Thank you this help me on my speech to my class in my english 11 class it was quite interesting really.

    • student123

      Can i ask what you were talking about specifically in your English speech in class.

  16. student123

    doing an essay on suicide prevention and wondered if anyone could help me get some good statistics and help me with specific cases of suicide and ways of preventing suicide.

  17. Althea

    Dr. Whitley notes that one theory why the suicide rate is so high in the 40 to 60 age group is because that’s an age where many men become unemployed or divorced.

    I think one reason for the sharp increase in midlife suicides and the surging number of midlife divorces are due to a common, under-recognized, young-onset dementia called frontotemporal dementia (FTD), whose onset is often called a “midlife crisis” or misdiagnosed as a psychiatric disorder, usually depression, anxiety or late-onset bipolar disorder. Unmonitored, unmedicated patients drink excessively and take drugs in order to feel better leading others to think they have turned into alcoholics.

    This disease destroys morals, empathy and inhibitions NOT memory or intellect so it goes undetected.

    These guys suddenly leave their decades-long marriage to chase young girls due to the hypersexual component of the disease. The wives divorce them. They spend lots of money and end up bankrupt.

    They are fired for poor job performance due to loss of executive skills, or they are fired for inappropriate behavior such as swearing, stealing, sexual harassment or angry outbursts.

    These guys experience wild mood swings becoming euphoric or enraged one moment and very sad the next. I think they kill themselves in the depressive state.

    Over 1/2 of the behavioral variant people start committing crimes for the first time in their lives such as shoplifting, embezzling and traffic violations, including road rage. I think studies should be done on middle-aged men with no violent history who suddenly attack and/or kill their wives. Family members have reported, “he acted like a man possessed” and “never in her wildest dreams would she thought he was capable of that.”

    I think they kill themselves in a depressed state, but kill others in a manic, enraged fury.

  18. Mark

    Well being single and alone all the time which unfortunately may have a lot to do with it, especially for those without a love life.

    • Simin

      That where social media is lot to blame as women have unrealistic demands of men.lots of lonely men without a love life passed over for some guy with no personality and gym body etc.

  19. Frank

    The real res on that men kill themselves is because the Canadian family law system….discriminates against fathers.

    No one will touch this issue because the family law rules were written by right wing feminists….

    Only deep thorough research will expose this.
    The rate of fathers commiting suicide due to the abuse they suffer in the family court system could be as high as 90% of male suicide’s directly linked to this problem.
    It is not a problem that is isolated to only Canada…its a world wide epidemic.

  20. Chris Kelly

    I think this article avoids the elephant in the room that is family courts that discriminate against men, and encourage predatory behavior in women.

    • Kevin

      The problem is not the Family Courts but the Female Plaintiff Attorneys that educate women on how a Domestic Violence Protection Order DVPO claim will reward them with possession of the Home, Custody and Child Support. The attorney of course is rewarded with high fees.
      The father is acceptable colleteral damage. Sorry if you are a father who’s life has been destroyed by these tactics, experiencing isolation and the feeling of being victimised.

      It was intentionally done.

      Its a Booming Industry.

      • Charles Bailey

        You are absolutely correct. Men are used as utility and disposable. I experienced having the kids and saw it from that side of how she got away with lesser payments of child support and less restrictions on her behavior from false accusations to property damage. I had evidence and it was ignored. Just because of her tears. That trumped all.

  21. student 288

    hi i am working on a project i was wondering if i could ask you some questions about it. thank you

  22. Andreas newitsch

    I quit drinking I no longer obsess about drinking. But the thought of suicide has replaced that it seems. Then I cry and feel better. Crying seems to release the sadness. I know I am loved. So why do I joke about this sensitive topic?

    • Charles Bailey

      Joking is a way to mask the pain and make light of a subject that is overwhelming you. Alcohol was a way to fill the void and distract yourself. Now that void is no longer being filled and the suicidal thoughts take it’s place. I was there. Those feelings of suicide are dark and empty. Are you alone, lonely, feel like you have no control. I did. I realized that suicide gave me an option to feel like I had control. Like there was always a way out of that dark place. I never acted upon it. I found a reason to live by realizing that my purpose was what I had been experiencing. If I could crawl out of that hole I could help other men do the same. It took a long time but I finally crawled out and walked away from the ledge. You can too. There answer is within you.Find other men to bond with. Find support groups. Get away from anyone negative and move forward slowly. When you realize your purpose you will understand that you have been training for this your entire life. It’s emotional bootcamp. Keep moving forward and realize the pain will subside as you keep training and get stronger. This too will pass. My place to exist with purpose is anger management. I went so many times they trained me to be a specialist. Now I help men with not only knowledge but insight from experience. Just know you’re not alone. I don’t know you but I have your back. I may not be local but there are others that can be there for you. Don;t be afraid to reach out and find someone you can express your feelings with. I actually found a woman’s shelter that accepted me and gave me council. Not common. But I looked until I found help. Never give up.

  23. Jaycei

    Im 12 and thought about suicide but this helped me to now that I whold be making my cuson suffer even more than I did thank you.

  24. A. Campbell

    This is so true that man don’t express their feelings. My husband took his life after I decided to leave him due to his addiction to sex and porn. I took care of him for twenty two years knowing of his problem. After my breast cancer I thought he will finally stop to reduce the stress on me but he didn’t and it made me very resentful and angry. I stayed for additional five years to see if you would change but he didn’t. I was finally done so I wanted a divorce and he didn’t want a divorce. After 26 days of being separated he took his life after talking to me for couple of hours to stay married to him but I said no. His parents and our children blamed me and took to court. I have been fighting them for the past 10 months. I have been accused of everything possible. I loved him very much and hope he told me that he was depress and I would have helped him. I would have never asked for divorce if I knew that he was unable to live without me. Very sad life I am living

    • Charles Bailey

      Addictions are a way of filling a void. Depression is usually a part of that void. I don’t know you nor the whole story. But from what you’ve said even if you would have stayed he would not have changed. Stop punishing yourself. The truth is 80% of suicides are men and it’s not because of masculinity they don’t reach out. It’s because of shame. Society, social media, and the law shame men constantly and send confusing messages. You were not responsible for his actions. Move on with your life. You may have been the reason he lived but you were not the reason you died and you were both suffering and that’s no way to live. Men and women have been manipulated to battle each other and as a result you get men committing suicide because they feel that is the only option. I hope you get better.

  25. Charles Bailey

    You forget that men seeking help are less likely to be taken seriously. Especially in cases where he is abused by his wife. Not only will he not be taken seriously even if anything is done it will be minimal for the abusive wife. This is what society, social media, and the law promote on both levels to the extent that he feels no other option.

  26. AB

    I’m an adult male survivor of child molestation that lasted years. At the hands of my mother and two older female cousins. In the fourth grade, I told a school counselor what was happening. She didn’t believe me. Didn’t do anything. Years later, I sought mental health counseling. My therapist explained to me that men technically couldn’t be “raped.” She went on and on about the legal definition of rape and why I was being insensitive for using the term.

    Years later still, failing to deal well with the fallout of years-long childhood abuse, I joined an online support group for adult survivors of childhood rape. I was the only man in the group. I shared my story. I never heard a peep from anyone. But the woman sharing right after me–in the thread I’d started–mentioned she’d been molested as a girl BUT had received lots of support and was doing well now. Immediately, her comment elicited an avalanche of support–heart and hugs emoticons, even invitations to talk on the phone if she needed. That was my second similar experience in an online support environment in two years. It was just after New Year’s 2020.

    I’ve been suicidal since college. I’ve followed the standard advice to reach out for help. I’ve been in various professional therapy settings. I’ve had several psychiatrists and followed their prescribed drug regimens. I’ve done CBT and DBT. But no one wants to hear about a middle-aged adult man who’s still suffering from the after-effects of childhood molestation. I’ve even had female friends ridicule me: “Ha. Now you have a glimpse of what we experience.” Said without an ounce of compassion. Each time, I feel worse and worse–like I’m not really a human being. Like no one cares about my suffering.

    My experience of reaching out is that WHO you are often determines others’ initial response to you AND professionals’ interventions for you. I’m sick of hearing/reading that my “toxic masculinity” is responsible for my poor mental health. Beyond the implicit insult, this “explanation” is often used to dismiss the suffering of people whom others may just care about less. In the dozens of times I’ve tried to reach out about being sexually molested as a child (and twice as an adult), NEVER has anyone listened actively to me. NEVER has anyone offered sincere, meaningful compassion (not an anonymous, self-congratulatory online “that’s too bad…”). And in more examples than I can count, when the next person in the same setting to share happens to have a different gender than me, the sympathy and support and validation that flow have made it impossible to ignore the antipodal differences in how we’ve been treated.

    Many other men I’ve known and shared this story with have recounted their own analogous experiences. An important reason many men like me stop opening up is because, after decades of being ignored or ridiculed, we learn that, contrary to the PC rhetoric we read in published articles or hear in polite public forums, we simply don’t matter. Because we happen to be males. Maybe things are slowly changing. But for many of us, the changing attitudes just aren’t prevalent enough yet. One thing we could do culturally is stop the implicit blame of men for their suicides, instead offering men discussing their serious problems a non-judgmental, safe, validating environment to open up.

    • Max

      Let me be the first to commend your bravery and express my appreciation for your experience.
      It is deeply concerning to hear not only of the terrible violations you have endured, but of the subsequent dismissal and even ridicule of your pain- the notion that someone would even attempt to rub salt in wounds of this nature chills me to the bone.
      For what it’s worth, it matters very much to me, and is totally valid, even though we have yet to meet.

      Your opinion and experience is valuable and eye-opening; I was not cognizant of the disparity in response in regards to male vs. female molestation/rape, although considering present, ubiquitous societal tropes concerning the sexes I am disappointingly unsurprised.
      Bringing attention to this issue is an endeavour of great importance, and underlines a desperate need in society; thank you.

      I have suffered with depression through late adolescence and into my contemporary life (I am a 28-year-old male). Since around age 24 I have contemplated suicide deeply.
      My reasons for gazing into the abyss are centered mostly around my poor physical health/chronic pain and subsequent poverty, loneliness and isolation. In addition I can’t help but feel that my hedonistic (if you will) philosophy isn’t doing much to keep my neck free of constriction.

      If you read this message, I cordially invite you to add me on Facebook: Max Millman (the only Max Millman that is a drum tutor on facebook!)

  27. Marcus J Pugner III

    Masculinity absolutely isn’t getting in the way; prohibition of its practice is.

    In the same period that muh toxig masgulinity became a trope, suicides and overall male depression had done nothing but rise, and this phenomena isn’t isolated to men. Women are killing themselves at higher rates as society tells them how horrible men are.

    The notion a man kills himself because it is seen as gauche to cry in public is absolutely absurd. It’s that he can’t cry not all the factors that makes him want to cry.

  28. John Ian Bobbitt

    The following draft was written by my nephew and left in an open window on his computer. It was still there when police found him a few days ago. We thought it best to allow it to be sent on to you.

    “I think it’s important to mention that when men DO mention thoughts of suicide, they’re told to “man up”, or “quit crying”.

    I reported thoughts of suicide to my mental health professional after beginning anti-depressants. She nodded, wrote out a “new dosage”, and asked me to sign a release…. which began “I hearby relieve the Office of _______ of any wrong-doing in the events that I take my own life____”. I refused to sign and stormed out. I got home and realized that the “new dosage” Had DOUBLED what I’d been taking. I followed the new dosage though, because she was a doctor after all. A week later I’d hung myself. Only a passerby heard the chair hit the floor, cut me down, and began CPR.

    That’s why men die more.

    More recently I was on a date. And this was a big deal for me. I always decline when I’m asked out, because I’m tired of bloody noses. (I was left a Virgin by my childhood sweetheart, who became my fiancé. She’d wanted to wait…just not for me,Aparently. Becoming pregnant months before the wedding. This left me a 21 year old virgin- and “on the shelf”, as they used to say. Since then women have hit on me constantly…till they found that out.) A man I knew in passing saw us and came up to our table, asking her if “the sex with the Virgin had been any good”. She looked shocked. And I knew then what was comming, it’s why I never let them find out with heavy or sharp objects around…

    A full Heavy plate of food came flying and smacked me in The face, busting my nose and blacking both my eyes. “I haven’t got time to teach a boy to f***!”, she screamed at me before storming out. I paid the bill and left to the jeers of the other patrons. Later that night, she began texting me Sex videos filmed with the man who had come to the table. I’m 36…and I’ve had enough”.

    It should be mentioned that when police arrived for the welfare check, butcher knives had been left stuck in his front door, and hatemail in the mailbox. Piles more on the table inside. Such was life for a very sweet boy, cursed with the same name as a celebrity.

  29. BASTA!

    Stop this bullshit.

    The main reason why men kill themselves is because the world treats men like shit, and the main reason why men don’t seek help is because the world treats men who do like shit trying to climb your leg. The right-hand rule for telling apart compassionate and victim-blaming approaches to male suicide is this: if the message is addressed to the man and says “you should swallow your toxic masculine pride and ask for help”, it’s the victim-blaming approach. If the message is addressed to the world and says “stop treating men like shit, and stop treating men who seek help as if they were shit trying to climb your leg”, it’s the compassionate approach.

  30. Robert Smith

    I just want someone to help me commit suicide in a painless, relatively clean (non messy) manner. I’m a typical middle aged guy who does not want to live anymore. I’ve tried all the meds, different therapists and therapies, etc… Safety lists, contracts, fake it until you make it, just do it, blah, blah, blah. Platitudes by those who are trying to help, but have no idea what the depths of despair are like. Every day is hell, despite having good people in my life who will be devastated. That’s how bad I feel. Hungry for suicide despite the harm it will cause to the ones I love. Incomprehensible for most, and a source of incredible pain to me. Not reasonable, I know, but I need to check out. Anyone else feel the same?

  31. Norcalryan

    I think of suicide often .In august had a badtrip while on a visit to San Francisco .. my anxiety became over whelming and I intentionally drank enough gbl i was sure would have killed me. Luckily the mixture of meth i use regularly combined with lsd mda mushrooms produced the worst feeling i have ever experienced resultin in my overdose attempt. daydreamin of deaths something i’ve done for 17 years now until i would say a year ago as te daydream become of killing myself rater than just my death.. i came across this as im looking for answers – am i crazy ..obviously i have addiction but is my denial about chemical dependency issues making me crazy

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