We should pay attention to disparities in suicide rates. Especially the biggest one.
The largest suicide demographic is White men, which account for about 75% of US suicides.
I have been working on the male suicide issue for some time, As a therapist I have worked with moms and dads who experienced the death of their child. It was clear as a bell that neighbors, co-workers, relatives and friends would all flock to the mom and offer support. But what did the dad get? Not much. People would come to him and say "How is your wife holding up?" It woke me up. Here's a link to a video on male suicide that is part one in a two part series. Much of this was also included in the Maryland Commission for Men's Health report on male suicide. it is a huge problem and very few seem to care.
The biggest risk factor in attempted suicide is being female.
Just ran the numbers (from 2021- I can find more recent, but that’s what I already had formatted), and the relationship is interesting. (Assertions of traditional) Masculinity seems to be protective against depression among young men, but the effect fades dramatically as men get older. Certainly lots of controls I’d want to introduce, but there’s something there. Happy to send over the xtabs if you’re interested.
It would be interesting to look at the relationship between how men view their own masculinity, their ideal of masculinity, and depression,
Richard - Thank you for highlighting this disparity. I'm also wondering whether the US hyperfocus on identity politics may have resulted in limited exploration of the relationship between income and suicide. In my work on inequality, Social Security and aging, I found a clear relationship between life expectancy and income, eg. Here are a few studies I just pulled off the web:
Socioeconomic factors associated with suicidal behaviors in South Korea: systematic review on the current state of evidence https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-022-12498-1
Relative Status and Well-Being: Evidence from U.S. Suicide Deaths https://www.frbsf.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/wp12-16bk.pdf
Study: Higher Poverty Tied to Increased Youth Suicide Risk https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/articles/2020-01-27/higher-poverty-tied-to-increased-youth-suicide-risk-study-shows
Financial strains significantly raise risk of suicide attempts https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-09-financial-strains-significantly-suicide.html
Karl Polzer Center on Capital & Social Equity www.inequalityink.org
Hi Richard. Very frustrating. Who should we email at the CDC about this? Just so frustrating that they do all this good research and then fail to highlight the most glaringly obvious risk-factor for suicide.
I find it deeply disturbing that whomever is running our current administration is radically feminist. Just read the White House 'National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality'. Openly gynocentric and thinly veiled misandrist. Personally, I've heard no protest about this from our political leaders or national Mens rights organizations. That doesn't mean they may be working behind the scenes or silenced by the media. The exception would be Senator Marco Rubio. Thanks for another great article.
As the mom to 2 sons with suicidal ideation and one of them has had to be physically restrainted from hurting himself here is my n=2 observations
- bullying by other boys has done more to destroy my sons' mental health than anything else
- both of them have a "pro-dromal" stage where they signal a meltdown is coming
Learning the above truths took YEARS. That is ridiculous.
Yes we need more data and research. I worry desperately about my brother, my husband and my friend's hushands and I want interventions that help.
But...I also want individual men to understand when they yell and melt down and act out...when they blow their stack at their kids...that is NOT NORMAL, they need to one by one...take responsibility and get themselves the help they need.
The answers are on the inside. If my sons can do the work and look as middle schoolers and high schoolers...so can grown a$$ men.
I'm struck by the phrase “narrative violation”. But the problem goes beyond just censoring recognition of any gender gaps that disfavor boys or men. Even if one can publicise the evidence, the next hurdle is that the narrative requires that males must be to blame for their own problem. Considering systemic and societal causes is also a violation of the narrative and is shut down accordingly. One see this play out on issues after issue - boys' education, health and, in this case, suicide.
Male violence is an ongoing epidemic in our society that takes a huge toll on everyone mentally, physically and financially.
Yet we tend to take that fact for granted, at least in all of the other ways that it manifests. If men's tendency to also commit violence against themselves is what it takes to make men sit up and take notice of male violence and motivate them to do something about it, I'm all in favor.
Thank you Mr Reeves. I posted this elsewhere in your thread but it’s what I’ve come to posit over 25 yrs of study:
I’m going to combine a discovery of Dr John Barry’s with one of my own here.
His third discovered “masculine archetype “ which I know to be a “masculine instinct” - not “conditioned “ because the incredibly multivariate nature of such a thing, unreliable and highly variable contributions to behavior I get it. - the sociology world embraces.
It is nowhere near as powerful durable and permanent as evolutionary produced biological instincts that males possess. Barry’s third one is “to control one’s own emotions” and not expressing them to others.
I term this the Hades Instinct after the private inner psychological world of the greek deity that one sees in males being their natural selves. Stoic. It’s NOT learned. It’s NOT conditioned and it cannot be DECONDITIONED.
It’s a natural INSTINCT.
Instead Barry and I independently propose males take agency for their personal development and action toward life’s goals. They can of course be advised by a therapist in this direction.
I believe this relieves dysthymia in them and yes I believe females have an equivalent dysthymia also rooted in their equally potent feminine instincts. I name those Hera Athena Artemis instincts etc. if blocked in expression or shamed then the human feels dysthymia.
I wish we could let people be their natural selves and stop telling them to “decondition” what is inborn. Instead why don’t we work with what’s natural there and steer toward happiness.
Sorry everyone that I’m intruding.
It’s just that I wish to do something that proves itself to stop more suicides both male and female. Thank you for letting me post.
I appreciate all your opinions.
It's going to be really interesting watching the academic world catch up to the now decades of (pseudo) philosophical writing in the "manosphere".
My guess: The narrative will suffer too much from social-imperative editing for peer reviewed journals to clearly state what is in the hearts and minds of millions of men.
In the best case scenario we discover that
a) Critical male values (as per Dr. Paul: biological male instinct) have not reached proper cultural significance during a period of rapid economic and social change.
b) Disfunctional social impulses related to sex (including reproduction) are inhibiting not just men, but also women from integrating their personalities with their biological instincts. This disfunction is apparent in society to any who dare to look for it.
c) There is an absence of a functioning male and female mythos in our current social order. This gaping hole is allowing for disconnection and loneliness on a scale that is uncomfortable to think about.
d) The apparent cultural blindness that we have to males is tinged with fear, shame, and anger.
This darkness is worth looking at. The path through is already being charted by those who write or speak about male experience. Many of these are truly selfless and compassionate people, some are grifters, some are both.
There is also the informal health sector, which hosts an entire industry of male self-development tools. Some of these tools and programs trump anything I have encountered in academic or corporate environments. These organizations are underfunded and occasionally the target of sociopolitical machinations, yet they contain a literal gold mine in practical experience.
If you are a therapist/doctor in the field of men's mental health and you deeply care about this issue, is it not your calling to start a men's group? It requires patience and effort, but the tools are available and the understanding, gained from listening to men and facilitating their expression, is priceless.
Your presence can also contribute to the existing initiatives, powered by men helping themselves, who are in need of facilitation expertise.
These groups will function as community platforms for the massive effort that is required to keep the current situation from getting worse.
I wrote this article for the Washington Post to highlight this issue: https://www.washingtonpost.com/parenting/2023/04/14/teen-boys-suicide-mental-health/
The CDC has turned into a political narrative enforcer. Lies of omission. Last 3 years have been eye opening.
According to the data, yes men complete suicide more often, but women attempt far more often.
The research shows Women tend to utilize softer methods such as pills, cutting wrists, etc, whereas men tend to be far more violent in their attempts: hanging, gunshot, jumping out of a window/off a bridge.
It’s due to the higher success rate of the methods that men tend to utilize that the higher disparity appears.
Not that that dismisses the problem, but the reality is that women suffer from suicidality at a higher rate than men, but are less successful in executing the actual act itself
Many many many answers here. Start with this as pricey as it may be. It’s gold. https://www.amazon.com/Palgrave-Handbook-Psychology-Mental-Health/dp/3030043835/