5+ Facts about male Suicide

Suicide definition

Istock photos

Based on the National Statistics definition; Suicide includes all deaths from intentional self-harm for persons aged 10 and over, and deaths caused by injury or poisoning where the intent was undetermined for those aged 15 and over. Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death (Wikipedia.org).

Some Risk factors

  1. Mental health disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse including alcoholism and the use of benzodiazepines are risk factors.

2. Those who have previously attempted suicide are at higher risk for future attempts.

3. People can become suicidal when they feel overwhelmed by life’s challenges. They lack hope for the future, and they see suicide as the only solution. Having a family history of suicide or impulsive behaviour is also believed to increase risk of suicidality.

4. Other risk factors can include:

  • Access to firearms
  • Isolation from others
  • History of physical or sexual abuse
  • Having a terminal or chronic illness

5. Some suicides are impulsive acts due to stress i.e. financial difficulties, relationship problems such as breakups, or bullying.

The most commonly used method of varies between countries, and is partly related to the availability of effective means.

Effective suicide prevention efforts would include limiting access to methods of suicide i.e. firearms, drugs and poisons.

Male suicide rates in the UK increased significantly in 2018

In England, a total of 3,800 deaths were registered as suicide among men in 2018, up 14% from the total in 2017 (3,328). This equates to a statistically significant increase in the England male suicide rate, with 15.9 deaths per 100,000 males in 2018, compared with 14.0 deaths per 100,000 males in 2017. The latest rate remains statistically lower than that observed in 1981 when there were 19.3 deaths per 100,000 males in England.

Across time, the male suicide rate for Wales shows a volatile pattern owing to the relatively smaller number of deaths. At the beginning of the time series in 1981, the rate was 16.0 deaths per 100,000 (165 deaths); this is not significantly different from the rate seen in 2018 (19.1 deaths per 100,000; a total of 252 deaths).

The suicide rates for males in England significantly increased in 2018. Office of National Statistics 2018

Scotland, in recent years, had one of the largest decreases in the male suicide rate. In 2014, the rate was 20.2 deaths per 100,000 (497 deaths); this was the lowest rate observed since the time series began. Since then, the suicide rate for males in Scotland has increased significantly to 24.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2018 (a total of 581 deaths).

The male suicide rate in Northern Ireland was generally consistent between 1981 and 2004, and it has again been mostly consistent between 2006 and now, with fluctuations because of the relatively small numbers. The large increase seen in Northern Ireland between 2004 and 2006 coincides with a change to the Coroners Service, therefore figures before and after 2006 cannot be directly compared. The 2018 numbers of deaths and rates for Northern Ireland will be published later this year.

Talking about dying is an obvious sign but there are many others that can indicate risk. The more signs you see, the higher the risk there is for suicide. There are emotional, verbal, and behaviour clues you can observe.

Emotional Markers can include:

Source unknown
  • Feeling depressed
  • Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Shame or humiliation
  • Mood swings

Verbal Markers include talking about:

  • Killing themselves
  • Their life having no purpose
  • Feeling like a burden
  • Feeling stuck
  • Not wanting to exist

There are two types of suicidal statements or thoughts. An active statement might be something like, “I’m going to kill myself.” A passive statement might include, “I wish I could go to sleep and not wake up,” or, “I wouldn’t mind if I got hit by a bus.” People often ignore passive statements, but they should be taken just as seriously.

Behavioural Markers can include:

  • Isolating from others
  • Not communicating with friends or family
  • Giving away possessions or writing a will
  • Driving recklessly
  • Increased aggression
  • Increased drug and alcohol use
  • Searching about suicide on the Internet
  • Gathering materials (pills or a weapon)

Older men are also at increased risk for suicide, and they complete suicide at a higher rate than any other age group. They also are especially at risk because they do not usually seek counselling for depression and other mental illnesses. If you see an older adult who stops taking care of their hygiene, is eating poorly, and/or starts giving away their possessions, then you should help them talk to a mental health professional as soon as possible (Kathleen Smith, Psychcom).

AmericanNurseToday.com

If you think someone might be suicidal, ask them directly “Are you thinking about suicide?” Don’t be afraid to do this, it shows you care and will actually decrease their risk because it shows someone is willing to talk about it. Make sure you ask directly.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, please seek professional support. ITV’s This morning programme recently put together this useful list of helplines where you can find more information and advice.

NHS Choices – Suicide

Suicide

Comprehensive help and information from NHS Choices with links to external websites.

The Samaritans

Tel: 116 123

samaritans.org

You can cope

Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. We provide a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. Please call 116 123 email jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of the nearest branch.

Shout

Text Shout to 85258

giveusashout.org

Shout is the UK’s first free 24/7 text service for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.

Mind

MindInfoline: 0300 123 3393

mind.org.uk

Suicidal feelings

Elefriends online support community

The MindinfoLine offers thousands of callers confidential help on a range of mental health issues. Mind helps people take control of their mental health. We do this by providing high-quality information and advice, and campaigning to promote and protect good mental health for everyone. They also provide a special legal service to the public, lawyers and mental health workers.

Papyrus

HOPELINEUK – 0800 068 4141

papyrus-uk.org

I’m worried about someone

Support for anyone under 35 experiencing thoughts of suicide, or anyone concerned that a young person may be experiencing thoughts of suicide.

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)

Helpline: 0800 58 58 58

thecalmzone.net

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) works to prevent male suicide and offers support services for any man who is struggling or in crisis. CALM’s helpline 0800 58 58 58 and web-chat are for men in the UK who need to talk or find information and support. The services are open 5pm–midnight daily and are free, anonymous and confidential. For access or to find more information visit thecalmzone.net

ChildLine

Helpline: 0800 11 11

childline.org.uk

Coping with suicidal feelings

ChildLine is a counselling service for children and young people. You can contact ChildLine in these ways: You can phone on 0800 1111, send us an email, have a 1-2-1 chat with us, send a message to Ask Sam and you can post messages to the ChildLine message boards. You can contact ChildLine about anything – no problem is too big or too small. If you are feeling scared or out of control or just want to talk to someone you can contact ChildLine.

Kooth.com

kooth.com

Kooth.com is an online counselling service that provides vulnerable young people, between the ages of 11 and 25, with advice and support for emotional or mental health problems. Kooth.com offers users a free, confidential, safe and anonymous way to access help.

YoungMinds

Helpline: 0808 802 5544

youngminds.org.uk

Suicidal feelings

Parents’ Information Service gives advice to parents or carers who may be concerned about the mental health or emotional well being of a child or young person.

The Mix

Helpline: 0808 808 4994

themix.org.uk

Suicide

Life’s tough, we know that. It can throw a lot your way and make it hard to know what the hell to do with it all. So, welcome to The Mix. Whether you’re 13, 25, or any age in between, we’re here to take on the embarrassing problems, weird questions, and please-don’t-make-me-say-it-out-loud thoughts you have. We give you the information and support you need to deal with it all.

Students Against Depression

Suicide and self harm

Surviving suicidal thoughts

Students Against Depression is a website offering advice, information, guidance and resources to those affected by low mood, depression and suicidal thinking. Alongside clinically-validated information and resources it presents the experiences, strategies and advice of students themselves – after all, who are better placed to speak to their peers about how depression can be overcome.

Maytree

Tel: 020 7263 7070

maytree.org.uk

At Maytree, we provide people in the midst of a suicidal crisis with the opportunity for rest and reflection, and give them the opportunity to stay in a calm, safe and relaxed environment. We can support four “guests” at a time. The service runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our warm and friendly volunteers and staff team spend up to 77 hours with each guest over their stay, giving them the opportunity to talk through their fears, thoughts and troubles.

Statistics: Office of National Statistics 2018

Author: mentalhealth360.uk

Mum to two amazing sons. Following recovery from a lengthy psychotic episode, depression, anxiety and anorexia, I decided to train as a Mental Health Nurse and worked successfully in various settings before becoming a Ward Manager. I am a Mental Health First Aid Instructor and a Mental Health Awareness Trainer, Mental Health First Aid Youth and Mental Health Armed Forces Instructor. Just started my mental health from the other side blog.

23 thoughts on “5+ Facts about male Suicide”

  1. Good post but just to set your moral alarm bells going, there is a bigger question altogether – is suicide a bad thing? For me, the answer is “not always”. I do think that dignity is the major factor here, not simply life or death.

    I was interested to read that access to firearms is considered a risk factor. I mean, there are countries with guns, countries without, so presumably, this must be evidential. But that must also mean that in countries without guns, there must be people walking around who would otherwise be committing suicide, if only they had the means to do so.

    1. Love it, moral alarm bells 😉 I get your first paragraph – who are we to judge? as I don’t see it always a bad thing.

      Assisted suicde maintains a persons dignity and that’s probably how I’d do it, if I really needed to i.e. if my physical disorder got worse. We find that men mainly choose more ‘violent’ ways to end their life i,e, hanging, shooting etc, if they have the means, whereas women tend to take overdoeses. People will always find the means, guns or no guns and obviously the UK doesn’t have as much access to guns as they do in the States, for example. Thank you for making me think………..

      1. I was just thinking, the USA is the big “gun” example. Presumably suicide rates there are higher than in the UK? Presumably, somebody also has said “that’s because they have guns and we don’t”.

        It might be physical, as you say, but it could also be mental. After all, every suicide is ultimately someone believing that death is preferable to life, and that could be for any reason.

        I’d never really thought about the means. I suppose how failsafe the method is must come into it. My daughter tried (and failed with) pills. Her female schoolfriend tried (and succeeded) with hanging. I’m very fortunate – I’m an insulin-dependent diabetic so if ever I decide to check out, nobody will know the difference. But it is a subject we can look at rationally, to say a blanket “suicide is bad” is, in fact, the irrational response. As a society, I think we tend to do this.

      2. Gosh, I’m so sorry you went through all that with your daughter and her friend but I’m so glad to hear your daughter was unsuccessful. I hope she’s happy and well now.
        I know some people find the act abhorrent and selfish, but no one knows the pain (physical or emotional) of another. Caz x

      3. Oh yes we knew both camhs and Social Services very well! You make me think a lot on this subject, but it is really the subject of a post in itself, not just a comment on yours. But a lot of my followers are US so possibly not one for today :-).

  2. I feel like talking about it and having the possibility to open up about your thoughts can help. It is on the other hand not easy to find someone who you can talk about this topic. People can react a little shocked or panicked. Some years ago we lost a mutual friend to sc and as an outcome I feel I can talk to my friend about it. It is a topic that needs awareness because lives are lost.

    1. True, so many lives are lost and the pain they leave behind must be, well, I can’t even imagine. I’ve never experienced anyone so close to me dying by suicide. I witnessed many suicides while I was nursing and I’ll never forget any of them. Some of the ‘torture’ they went thro’ prior to killing themselves was just awful. And yes, it does need to be talked about. I’m glad you have at least one person to talk to. My partner will listen when I say “I can’t take any more.” I’m lucky, probably because of my job and the fact that mental illness runs in my family, there’s so many people I can talk to about suicidal thoughts and feelings. I know I’m very lucky in some ways. Thank you for commenting Kasha. Caz x

      1. It is a long, hard, exhausting and devestating way to go before you come to that conclusion and plan of action.
        I tried to open the debate at work about eutanasia for chronically ill people with no hope/possibility of improvement.
        Families of patients who went through it, can accept more and are sometimes the willing part to discuss something like euthanasia as a different answer to long-term suffering. But then again, it was all a bit difficult at work but some people were willing to think about the subject of long-term suffering and quality of life, what the core issue would be.
        People themselves are effected by sc but also friends, families, parents, sisters … For one of course bc of the loss of their loved one but also the desperation and questions that go along with it. It is a ‘difficult’ way to leave the world and that was something I wanted to discuss honestly and openly. When you talk seriously with people about their deathwish maybe less people would be driven to it. Or there would be other ways to go about it.
        I hope this makes sense bc it is such a delicate topic and I’m having difficulties to express myself without being too graphic.

  3. This article spoke so much truth. I have often thought of suicide over my years of suffering, This post layed out some definite signs and symptoms. This is extremely helpful to those around that want to help

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