Understanding Suicide in Men

Understanding Suicide in Men

The signs and risk factors to watch for + how to get help


Understanding Suicide in Men


Men are often under-supported when it comes to mental health, and the reasons for this are complex. While help is readily available, especially with the advent of more affordable online therapy options, many men hesitate to reach out when it matters most. 

Tragically, suicide in men is a steadily growing trend, and statistics show that men are nearly four times more likely to commit suicide than women. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that suicide was the seventh leading cause of death for men in 2015. While more women attempt suicide than men do each year, men are more likely to choose lethal forms of suicide that result in death. In 2019, white men accounted for over 69% of suicide deaths in the United States alone. 

Multiple factors increase a person’s risk of suicide, but depression, hopeless thoughts and feelings, and addiction can contribute. Further, having a parent who died by suicide can increase the risk tenfold or more. This may be due to genetic factors, such as tendencies towards depression, but a family member taking their life can send the message that suicide is a valid way out when life’s struggles become too intense. 

You can cope when life gets rough––but no one recovers alone. If you suspect that someone you love is struggling with depression or hopelessness, here’s what you need to know. And if it’s you who’s feeling at risk of suicide, there is hope. 

How To Recognize the Risk Factors

Risk factors for suicide include a combination of personal and cultural attitudes, behaviors, and mental health concerns that can increase a person’s chances of dying by suicide. 

The major risk factors are:

  • Mental health conditions, such as depression and mood disorders
  • Losing a close friend or family member to suicide
  • Lack of access to adequate and affordable mental health care
  • Drug and alcohol addiction or misuse
  • Chronic illness and injuries
  • Ongoing social isolation and a lack of community support
  • Job loss or significant life crisis
  • Stigma associated with reaching out for help
  • Access to lethal methods 

Also, a history of prior suicide attempts can increase the risk of dying by suicide. It’s important to understand the warning signs of suicide so that intervention is possible when it’s most needed. 

Understanding Suicide Prevention

Suicide risk can lessen through preventative measures––it’s not an inevitable outcome of a mental health disorder or life crisis. Effective suicide prevention involves multiple approaches, and knowledge is the first step. If you observe the following warning signs in yourself or a loved one, take action. Start the conversation and get help.

  • Expressing hopelessness 
  • Talking about how to commit suicide and seeking out weapons or drugs
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Expressing feeling trapped with no way out of a problem
  • Social withdrawal and extreme isolation
  • Fixating on rage or thoughts of revenge

Critical Resources + Support

Suffering alone and in silence increases risks to your well-being, and unfortunately, men are often encouraged to go it alone when problems happen. You can challenge this tendency, however, and work to let others in on your experiences. It’s important to let people you trust know when you’re in pain, and knowing when it’s time to get help can make a crucial difference in how well and quickly you recover. The following resources are a good place to start.

If you suspect that someone you care about is at risk of suicide, step in and reach out. While you ultimately can’t control another person’s choices, don’t underestimate your ability to make a positive difference in someone’s life. 



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