Men And Mental Health

Vidhi Kothawala
December 8, 2021


According to the global data available from the world health organization, in 2016, there were an estimated amount of 793,000 suicide deaths worldwide. Most of the deaths were men. As per the Office for Nationational Statistics, the male suicide rate in the U.K. is 15.5 deaths per 100,000 and 4.9 deaths per 100,000 for females.

Other countries also have higher suicide rates among men. In the U.S., men are 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide than women and four times more likely in Russia and Argentina. As per the WHO, 40% of countries have even higher suicide rates for men compared to U.K.

However, women are much more likely to attempt suicide, and also have higher depression rates. As a matter of fact, in the U.S., adult women attempt suicide 1.2 times as often as men. So, why is there a vast gender gap when it comes to suicide rates? Why do men suicide more, even when more women are diagnosed with mental illnesses and have higher rates of suicide attempts?

There are many reasons why the suicide rates are higher for men than women. The first reason is communication. Men are often told by society not to share their feelings and emotions, while it’s more acceptable for women to be emotional and express their feelings and problems. Ever since they were kids, society has coerced men into bottling their emotions to not seem “weak.” “Man up,” “Boys don’t cry” were phrases often told to them if they showed any emotion growing up.

Hearing such words caused most men to have a very closed-off mentality, making them less likely to admit when they feel vulnerable, whether it be to their friends/family or even themselves. And when a person doesn’t know that they have some sort of mental condition causing them distress, there’s no way they would get help.

Secondly, men’s suicide rates are higher because of the pressure to work. In many countries/communities, men are still expected to work and provide for the household instead of women. Economic downturns always cause an increase in unemployment rates which then cause higher suicide rates. Having to worry about finances while being unemployed and dealing with social pressure can drive anyone’s mental health issues to reach an all-time high while also inducing suicidal thoughts in one’s mind.

When you take a step back, you realize that there are no candid solutions for such a sensitive and difficult issue. While there are many programmes, policies, and non-profit organizations spreading awareness, the mass ignorance of this issue cannot go unheard.

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