Boys and men are four times more likely to take their own lives but you could be forgiven for not knowing that
In 2013 an "Auschwitz number" of US high schoolers attempted... 1.3 million
In 2013 an "Auschwitz number" of US non-high schoolers attempted... 1.3 million
In 2018 a "holocaust number" of Americans were targeted to be killed (planned their suicide)....6,100,000
Note: WWII Holocaust seems to have taken more than a year: 1933-1945
Dude, you are killing it on this issue. (Sorry for the morbid pun.) You are spot on. Since your post there was a NYT article, "Girls Are Taking Their Pain Out on Themselves," that highlighted the mental health crisis of teenage girls by focusing on "non-suicide self harm." Seriously? Why exclude suicide? It's hard for me not to conclude that the mainstream media simply has no empathy for the plight of men, even when it comes to suicide.
And I also noted the CDC's biased coverage of suicide by completely failing to identify men as vulnerable class when it comes to suicide. This is an official government agency that can't accurately report on a public heath issue because it affects men. The bigger question is why is there such an empathy gap when it comes to men's issues?
Thank you for your post.
Father of three teenage boys who all suffer depression
Could this relate? https://www.theguardian.com/education/2021/aug/13/girls-overtake-boys-in-a-level-and-gcse-maths-so-are-they-smarter
Dr John Barry of UCL London and Male Psychology Magazine is doing extensive work on this problem of high rates of males completing suicide. I wish you would do a podcast with him...
I was telling a woman close to me (ok, it was my wife) about this article. She hadn’t heard that suicide rates were higher for men and boys, but she wasn’t surprised because ”men are more violent than women”. I let that pass because being married means learning to pick one’s battles, plus I like to give any idea the benefit of the doubt before I take issue with it. But it almost sounded like blaming the victim. I wonder how many people, men as well as women, believe similarly. Could this be a problem, too?
Why are men (and indeed all people) far more depressed and suicidal than in the past? Mental healthcare is an essential resource for those suffering from depression and suicidality, but my question is: What causes it in the first place? What about our current social makeup causes people to desire self harm?
men are increasingly becoming disposable in the modern labor economy (beneath the rank of CEO/President) and in the family. This has really affected older men who grew up in a more rigid patriarchal society. There is also no doubt a gender bias to reporting, since most editors are now female. It's kind of obvious, but needs to be raised. Have you looked into the research on how many mass shootings are basically suicides w/collateral damage? I recently discussed the cultural continuum of suicide with mass shootings being the most angry and theatrical version... https://jamesrichardson.substack.com/publish/post/63157929
Thanks for mentioning CEPR's work on why men need Medicaid (and ideally universal health care and other social security benefits that we lack here). On the recent CDC releases, this new analysis by Will Rinehart and Taylor Barkley is the best thing I've seen so far: https://nowandnext.substack.com/p/thoughts-on-cdc-yrbs-data
Not to be a downer, but it seems like culturally we have developed a blasé attitude toward suicide in general. It is more common in western countries to allow Dr assisted suicide for any reason, like depression.
We just shrug and say, it’s their choice 🤷♀️.
It’s really sad.
I first noticed this when I read an article about a woman who was concerned about who would care for her as she aged. She was in her late 60s had never partnered or raised children. And the top comment was “don’t forget you have assisted suicide where you live”
Here's the thing -- your graphs end at age 64 above -- it actually keeps climbing with increasing age. People don't care, as it's not a top cause of death for old men (so many more things kill you at that age... and why not just die already?) -- well, I care.
Who am I? A life actuary who hates death. But I love keeping track of death stats. And I often post on these things.
This bias is just everpresent. And I'm pretty sure it's mostly deliberate. Most of the people just don't care.
Zvi nicely commented on this here: https://thezvi.substack.com/p/the-kids-are-not-okay
> Washington Post reports, in an exercise in bounded distrust:
> > Nearly 1 in 3 high school girls reported in 2021 that they seriously considered suicide — up nearly 60 percent from a decade ago — according to new findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost 15 percent of teen girls said they were forced to have sex, an increase of 27 percent over two years and the first increase since the CDC began tracking it.
> > …
> > Thirteen percent [of girls] had attempted suicide during the past year, compared to 7 percent of boys.
> One child in ten attempted suicide this past year, and it is steadily increasing? Yikes.
> There is a big gender gap here, but as many of you already suspect because the pattern is not new, it is not what you would think from the above.
> > In the U.S, male adolescents die by suicide at a rate five times greater than that of female adolescents, although suicide attempts by females are three times as frequent as those by males. A possible reason for this is the method of attempted suicide for males is typically that of firearm use, with a 78–90% chance of fatality. Females are more likely to try a different method, such as ingesting poison. Females have more parasuicides. This includes using different methods, such as drug overdose, which are usually less effective.
> I am going to go ahead and say that if males die five times as often from suicide, that seems more important than the number of attempts. **It is kind of stunning, or at least it should be, to have five boys die for every girl that dies, and for newspapers and experts to make it sound like girls have it worse here**. Very big ‘women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat’ (actual 1998 quote from Hillary Clinton) energy.
Richard this is all SO important. Thank you for giving the actual facts here. I was suicidal in a mental hospital 5 years ago (at 53). Thank God I got good treatment and through hard work I am as happy as I have ever been in my life now. I am dedicating my life to helping men connect, to break the stigma of suicide, and other issues like addiction. I have started a speaker's series on Sunday nights on zoom. Would you ever consider coming to speak? This is a place for men of all walks to connect. Underlying these suicide numbers (as is pointed out in the Harvard longitudinal study) is male isolation. Isolation that causes men to die 6 years younger than women not just because of suicide, but addiction, booze, and every major life ending disease brought on early because of the wear and tear of isolation. Thank you for this work. We need so many more voices like you. None of this this is anti-woman, anti-feminist, etc. Women need evolved and healthy men on this planet. And we as men need to get our shit together.
Thanks for this, and your conversation with Ezra Klein was great. I’m college teacher and I’m looking for ways to include your work in my class, not only to illuminate issues around gender, but also to help them get past the zero sum us/them thinking that plagues public discourse.
Thank you Richard. I love the work that you’re doing, and your courage in writing and speaking
And...I have to admit I cringe a bit when I read “being male is the biggest risk factor of all,” instead of, perhaps, something like “being male is the strongest correlation of all.”
Is the root cause literally being male, being male in our current society, or... living the life of a male person? Subtle and hard to pick apart, but important distinctions, I think.
Do you know if there’s much research on the disparity in method of suicide for young men and young women? There’s a lot more chance to reconsider a medication suicide than a gunshot one, and young men (I predict) have greater access to guns. They definitely are at much higher risk of being the perpetrator or the victim of a gun homicide in their late teens/early twenties. I would predict there was still an underlying disparity in attempts, but I expect part of the disparity in deaths is method driven.
Richard, Thank you for being a voice of compassion and reason at this time of conflict, misunderstanding, and name calling. Helping boys and men, is not in any way a conflict with helping girls and women. It is essential. Suicide is a key indicator of the health of our society. We are losing too many boys and men and these losses are sure to contribute to the losses of girls and women now and in the future. There is no need for a battle of the sexes. We must come together to change the dysfunctional system that divides and harms us all.