The UK’s wonderful Samaritan’s organisation has published a report highlighting the prevalence of suicides in men of middle age.
The report shows that in particular men from lower socio-econonic backgrounds are at most risk. Men from such backgrounds are ten times more likely to commit suicide than those from higher socio-economic groups and affluent areas.
The research highlights the following (quoted from the media release):
- Men compare themselves against a ‘gold standard’ which prizes power, control and invincibility. When they believe they aren’t meeting this standard they feel a sense of shame, which can lead them to have suicidal thoughts.
- Men in mid-life are now part of the ‘buffer’ generation, not sure whether to be like their older, more traditional, strong, silent, austere fathers or like their younger, more progressive, individualistic sons.
- The changing nature of the labour market over the last 60 years has affected working class men. With the decline of traditional male industries, they have lost not only their jobs but also a source of masculine pride and identity.
- men in mid-life remain overwhelming dependent on a female partner for emotional support. But today men are less likely to have one life-long partner and more likely to live alone, without the social or emotional skills to fall back on.
What is interesting about this study is that it considers the question of suicide beyond the mental health issues and highlights the societal and cultural influences. In the modern world these are what make mid-life men particularly vulnerable to despair and worse.
The report is part of the Samaritan’s “We’re in your corner” campaign which is the second phase of Samaritans’ partnership with Network Rail.
Each year approximately 6,000 people die by suicide across the UK and Republic of Ireland and around 230 are on the railways. Men account for three quarters of all suicides.
The objectives of the Samaritan’s campaign are to:
- raise awareness of the issue of men and suicide and to encourage the most at risk group to seek help;
- understand why this group of men are most at risk of suicide;
- influence policy makers and service providers by advising on the best way to support this group of men.
More power to them, I say.
If you’d like to support the great work of the Samaritan’s go here.
Telephone helpline: 0845 790 9090
1850 60 90 90 if you are in the Republic of Ireland
Anonymous E-mail: [email protected]
For Children and Youth:
Childline: 0800 1111
National 24 Hour Suicide/Crisis Lines:
1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)- handles both crisis and suicide calls
Covenant House (Adolescent): 1-800-999-9999
Lifeline 24 hour counselling
Lifeline 24/7 Helpline: (09) 5 222 999
Kidsline: 0800 KIDSLINE (0800 543 754)
Chinese Lifeline: 0800 888 880
Suicide Prevention Helpline: 0508 TAUTOKO (0508 828 865)
Go to the Suicide Prevention website and find your local crisis center.
National Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
“Crisis counselling to people at risk of suicide, carers for someone who is suicidal and those bereaved by suicide, 24 hours per day 7 days a week across Australia”
Other Help Lines
Lifeline (National) – 13 11 14
SANE Australia Helpline (National) – 1800 187 263
Suicide Helpline (VIC) – 1300 651 251
Mensline (National) – 1300 789 978
Kids Helpline (National) – 1800 551 800