Things are starting to get hairy, but for a great cause. This month, “Movember” is all about spreading awareness to help men who suffer from prostate and testicular cancer. But it’s not just physical well-being we’re concerned with. Today, we’re addressing something just as important: men’s mental health.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), one person dies from suicide every 40 seconds around the world. And because men tend to “choose more lethal methods” to complete suicide than women do, male suicide rates are three times higher than female’s.
Men’s suicide has become a worldwide epidemic. Image source: City-Data.com.
What’s Causing These Suicides?
“Ninety percent of people who die by suicide are experiencing some sort of mental illness or addiction, most often depression,” says the vice president of Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Image Source: Time Magazine
Despite the fact that men have higher suicide rates than women, depression is reported to be twice as common among females. An important factor to consider here is that men are less likely to report their mental health problems. In fact, a survey conducted by the Mental Health Foundation found that 28% of men admitted that they had not sought medical help, compared with 19% of women.
While every case is different, several studies point to social stigmas and “toxic masculinity” as a possible reason men are not seeking help. Men are constantly pressured to act tough in order to “be a man.” Thus, they’re naturally made to think that expressing emotions is a sign of weakness. According to The Journal of Counseling Psychology, men who adhere to the “ideal male” stereotype are more likely to build up a negative perspective on getting psychological help.
Image source: Spectator Health
Gender roles also contribute to men’s suicide rates. Despite significant changes in women’s rights throughout recent years, many cultures still encourage men to be the “heads of the household” and support their families monetarily. Therefore, economic and social difficulties like unemployment and divorce may make them feel isolated and powerless.
This can also relate to how dangerous behaviors, like the use of drugs, alcohol, and violence, are often used as methods to cope with emotional problems. In fact, men are 2.2 times more likely than women to engage in drug abuse, according to the National Epidemiologic Survey.
While these are just some of the many possible reasons for the rise in male suicide rates, it’s an issue we need to address on a much bigger scale. It should be talked about in schools, among families, and men should feel okay about seeking help.
If you or someone you know are depressed, or thinking about self-harm, please contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline at +1 800-273-822, or visit one of the school’s counselors. If you’re interested in donating or learning more about men’s health issues, visit Movember Worldwide and spread the word.