Why do suicide rates increase among men compared to women?

 Six years ago, my brother ended his life as a suicide bomber and was 28 years old.

Unfortunately, the tragedy of suicide has become more widespread than we think. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the number of suicide victims in 2016 was 793,000 worldwide, most of them men.

In the United Kingdom, suicide remains the leading cause of death among men under the age of 45, while gender suicide rates vary. The number of suicide bombers represents about a third of the number of suicide bombers in Britain.

This applies to many countries around the world. According to World Health Organization data, more than 15 suicides per 100,000 men were registered in about 40 percent of the world, while suicide rates were higher among women in only 1.5 percent of countries.

"We have observed this disparity in suicide rates since we started to record suicides," says psychologist Gil Harkavi Friedman, vice president of research at the American Institute for Suicide Prevention.

Given the sensitivity of the theme of suicide and the complexity of its motives and multiple, we may not be able to know all the reasons that lead to suicide.

However, the issue of gender disparity in suicide rates continues to be of interest to researchers, with men registering the largest share of suicides, although depression is more common among women.

Remarkably, women are more likely to think about suicide. In the United States, for example, suicide rates among women were higher than among men by about a quarter and a quarter. This may be because men use more deadly suicides, which may increase their chances of death before rescuers arrive.

The ease of access to suicides is one of the most important factors contributing to an increased risk of suicide among men, with six out of every 10 men having weapons in the United States, for example. With more than half the victims of suicide taking their lives with firearms.

Men may choose these means because they are more determined to end their lives. A study of hospital patients who abused them found that men had more suicidal tendencies than women.

Why are men unable to bear the pressures of life, and how can they be helped to deal with them?

Risk factors

Emotional secrecy is the most important factor that increases the risk of suicide. While women do not find it hard to vent their problems and talk about them with others, men tend to conceive them. This may be due to the fact that many societies are urging males to be strong, enduring and not to discriminate their suffering.

"We used to tell our children, 'The boy does not cry,'" says Coleman Audriscoll, former executive director of Lifeline, a charity dedicated to suicide prevention in Australia. "We educate them to keep their feelings small because they are evidence of weakness".

Mara Grunau, executive director of the Center for the Protection of Suicide in Canada, notes the importance of how we talk to our children and how to encourage them to express their feelings and thoughts. "Mothers talk more to their daughters than to their young children, especially feelings and feelings. We almost expect in advance that women are senseless. "

Men tend to hide feelings of weakness and lack of recognition, and may be more conservative than women about visiting the doctor.

"Men are less willing to seek psychological counseling, but this does not mean that men do not suffer from psychological problems equal to or greater than women, but are less aware of stress and psychological disorders, which increases the risk of committing suicide," Friedman said.

Friedman adds that the patient will not resort to help unless he first realized that the depression he suffers is caused by psychological disorder. Only one-third of the victims of suicide were found to be undergoing psychiatric treatment when they committed suicide.

More seriously, some resort to self-treatment. "Alcohol consumption and drug addiction are higher among men, and this may reflect an attempt to escape the desperation they have, all of which increases the risk of suicide," Friedman said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics indicate that men are more likely to drink too much alcohol. But drinking alcohol exacerbates the symptoms of depression and increases the risk of aggressive behavior. Alcoholism is known to increase the risk of suicide.

There are also family and physical factors that increase the likelihood of committing suicide. High unemployment rates are often associated with an increase in suicide rates following the recession.

There is no doubt that financial concerns and attempts to find a job may exacerbate psychological problems. But unemployment also has social dimensions. "We grew up comparing ourselves to our peers and always trying to achieve economic success," says Simon Gunning, chairman of the UK's Campaign Against Desperate Life campaign to tackle suicide among men: "But if we face economic problems and come out of our control, Despair".

Feeling isolated can also lead to suicide. "The apparently successful person who sacrificed everything to achieve professional excellence, even at the expense of his social relations, would find himself alone at the top of the pyramid," says Grunau.

But external factors can not alone lead to suicide, but may speed up the suicidal behaviors of the person already exposed to that risk.

"Millions of people have lost their jobs and almost all of us have experienced the breakdown of our emotional relationship but we have not committed suicide," Friedman said.

Possible solutions

There are no immediate solutions to this complex issue, but some programs, policies and nonprofit organizations have made significant progress in the fight against suicide.

In Australia, for example, a national day has been set up to check on others. This initiative was launched by the RUOKI Foundation to support those who face life difficulties by talking to them.

The "solidarity" initiative encourages men to be distracted by something else, such as riding a bike or watching a football match. The Friends of Construction program aims to raise awareness of suicide rates among construction workers to encourage them to participate in the fight against suicide.

"All of these initiatives focus on encouraging men to let go of their concerns, stressing that this is evidence of strength, not weakness," Driscoll said.

If one does not want to talk about his problems with someone else, he can send his concerns to new applications based on the idea of ​​"chat robot" to get the help he needs without fear of others' views.

Project 84 focuses on the effects of suicide on those close to us. The project drew its name from the number of men who commit suicide every week in the United Kingdom. Gunning says he's meant to alert men that getting out of the equation is not a right solution.

Other solutions are to put obstacles to suicide bombers. A study showed that the barriers erected on the suspension bridge in England contributed to reducing the number of victims of jumping from the top of the bridge by half.

However, protection against suicide requires more efforts. Friedman says research in this context should take account of biological, hormonal and mental differences between men and women.

However, Friedman does not deny that governments have recently paid much attention to the issue of suicide control. The UK has announced the appointment of the first female suicide protection minister in 2018. Friedman believes suicide rates have already dropped in Britain after a series of nationwide measures to counter suicide .

Gronau says the situation has now improved thanks to the spread of awareness campaigns on mental disorders and suicide, and people are more willing to talk about suicide despite the psychological pain. But these efforts and initiatives are still insufficient.

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