Male Suicide Rates and Causes

by Featured Guest on April 19, 2011

By Szebran

In the US, the suicide rate for men is four times that of women. Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for all U.S. men according to National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. According to German blogger Simon Rierdon (or at least I think he’s German) the number of men committing suicide is up in every non-third world country.

He quoted PR Newswire “Between the ages of 20 and 29 suicide is three times as common in men as in women and the number of attempted suicides amongst young men has doubled in 10 years across most developed countries” Simon also notes that he has seen stories about how German men are committing suicide in record numbers but the suicide rate among young women is not rising.

No country has bothered to address the problem of male suicide. Kerry L. Knox, Ph.D., director of the Canandaigua Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs stated “Men in the overall U.S. population just haven’t been the focus of a lot of suicide-prevention efforts.”

Based on studies by Professor John Macdonald, Co director of the Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre (MHIRC) in Australia and Thomas Joiner, Ph.D, a professor of psychology at Florida State University, it appears the two primary reasons causing the vast majority of male suicides are modern marriage (sometimes called marriage 2.0 on The Spearhead) and unemployment.

Joiner estimates that “romantic disruptions” and other relationship issues trigger depressive episodes in about 75 percent of men between the ages of 20 and 40 who commit suicide. Macdonald stated “Many men are overwhelmed by social problems like unemployment, family break-ups and not having access to their children. When a number of these social factors come together, they can be enough to send a man over the edge and contemplate self-harm,” Additionally, MSNBC Health (‘Male Suicide’ 2008) states “Data going back decades shows that, like clockwork, economic downturns push more men over the brink — a fact that should concern us all now. Men draw much of their identity from their careers, and when unemployment rises, that underpinning falls away.” Lastly, Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., a suicide expert stated “Especially in their early 20s, guys can think, ‘This one person was right for me, I’ve lost her, and it’s all over’ … they lack the perspective that they’re going to have other relationships, maybe even better relationships”

Simon Rierdon quoted an article by Michelle Beaulieu (Reuters Health, 2000) “In addition, divorce or marital separation more than doubled the risk of suicide in men, whereas in women, marital status was unrelated to suicide.” Dr. Augustine Kposowa from the University of California suspects that this difference is related to the social networks men and women form outside their marriages, which may be stronger or more meaningful in women than in men. “Women have better ways of communicating,” Kposowa told Reuters Health in an interview. “They may have more social support networks, friends and relatives that they talk to, whereas men donít have social support networks.”

As stated in this post, these studies appear to indicate some men need a more realistic outlook about modern marriage. They still have obsolete notions of marriage being everything. Being divorced or single is viewed as the end of the world.

At one time, having a wife meant having a companion. Someone who would care about you and help you in life. Those days are gone. Today, modern marriage is centered on the wife. Partnership is discouraged in women’s literature As emphasized by Parenting Magazine (Mad at Dad 2009) & repeated by many women’s websites, husbands are now expected to do – at minimum – 50% of house chores. However, wives are not be expected to help husbands with housing repairs, auto maintenance or other similar tasks. These are deemed the “husband’s job”. Additionally, as emphasized by women’s literature, house chores and husband’s jobs must be completed according to the wife’s time schedule. Her husband’s viewpoint does not matter.

Any wife that helps her husband or considers his opinions is criticized in women’s literature as subservient. Additionally, she will also be the target of peer pressure from other women to change her behavior toward her husband.

Also, in modern marriage, husbands are used as baby sitters so the wife can have her weekly ‘girls night out’. This is especially true if she wants to stay out late clubbing. However, boys night out is frowned upon. This is especially true if he wants stay out late clubbing. He will be considered a deadbeat.

Lastly, if a late night girls outing results in an extra marital affair and pregnancy, its tough luck for the husband if he discovers the child isn’t his. Nearly all states have laws supporting paternity fraud. The hapless husband must raise & finance the child. The sleazebag other man will have no obligations. I’ve been told this is also the law in Britain.

Modern wives are taught to view their husbands as living room decorations.

More men should be educated about modern marriage. Letting ex-husbands tell their personal stories is one way to accomplish this task. No names or pictures are necessary. Men can simply explain how they were treated during their marriage and how the family court treated them during the divorce. Ideally, these stories should appear on popular men’s websites. But how many websites would be willing to let ex-husbands tell their stories is questionable. Nonetheless, the stories would be educational. They would prompt very fundamental questions: Why have a “modern” wife? What purpose does she serve? What value is she? What benefit is modern marriage? Admittedly, men have previously received a health benefit from being married. However, research by Hui Liu and Debra Umberson (Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 2008) show, today, there is little difference in health status between married and unmarried men.

Eroding the idea a man must have a modern wife in order to have a meaningful, healthy life can have a significant impact on the male suicide rate. Being divorced or single will no longer seem the end of the world. In fact, a better life is staying single, having a series of girlfriends & joining a biking, hiking, swimming, astronomy, history or religious club. Men should join whatever organization interest them. Thousands of these groups can be found by searching the internet. Yahoo groups is one place to start. Being divorced / single is not unique. In America, 48% of the adult population is unmarried (Population Reference Bureau, 2009).

The second reason for male suicides may be more difficult to tackle. Male unemployment is due largely to lack of education. Millions of jobs requiring only a high school diploma have disappeared. In the US, a college degree or at least a degree from a technical school is now necessary for many good paying jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics show that since 1970, the unemployment rate for college graduates is half that of high school graduates. It also shows college graduates, on average earn nearly twice what high school graduates earn. Approximately 50% more women earn college degrees than men. This is the primary reason why, in most American cities, young single woman aged (22-30) earn more money than men of the same age group (New York research firm Reach Advisors, 2008). The situation is probably similar in other western countries.

Men have trouble obtaining higher education. In America, this is because the education system is mostly controlled by two feminist groups. One group, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) has blocked every single attempted school reform designed to help increase boys performance & interest in school. They insist girls should remain the focus of education. Another group, The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), is responsible for the anti male culture throughout the school system. Boys as young as 4 have been charged with sexual harassment and suspended. The NWLC demands all schools be financially liable for incidents deemed as sexual harassment. Since schools have no money to defend themselves against NWLC lawsuits, its easier to suspend little boys for any reason. Ultimately, boys learn to become detached from school.

Finally, there is the problem of financing. Because of AAUW pressure, big corporations such as Walmart, Home Depot and Starbucks, donate money to college grant programs with the stipulation the student cannot be male.

Together, the AAUW and NWLC significantly degrade and derail boys education thus making them less likely to advance into college or trade school. There are probably similar feminist groups in other western countries who control the education system thereby hindering boys development. Changing this situation requires directly challenging feminist power. Also, a man must realize the national economy is beyond his control. Sometimes, unemployment is unavoidable regardless of education background.

Adjusting men’s perceptions to a realistic view of modern marriage and challenging feminist control of education could have a significant impact on male suicide rates in the West.

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