5+ Facts about male Suicide

Suicide definition

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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).


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.

Statistics: Office of National Statistics 2018