To get straight to the point, suicide rates in males in the United Kingdom are alarming

Not just alarming but devastating. Suicide happens when a person is lost to oneself, whatever the reason that lies behind. Whether stress, overwhelm, or trauma from situations often beyond the individual’s control or other people, society, or close relations become the reason, and a person ends his/her life in the face of defeat. The suicide of someone can become a mirror for others to act accordingly. Like, what to say, do, act, think, and comprehend in front of any known or unknown person. Suicide is an act that occurs worldwide, wherever on any part of this planet, a person’s lost will might result in another lost life.

Like anywhere else, the UK also faces such alarming suicide rates, and males are almost twice as much as women.

       For the year 2020:

Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that 6.9 per 100,000 suicide deaths (with confirmed 845 registered deaths by suicide) occurred in England between April and June this year, i.e., during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic (UK News, 2020).

Here a question arises that have suicide rates been affected by the pandemic?

Provisional data published by the ONS suggested there had been during the coronavirus pandemic’s peak between April and June 2020. The pandemic of 2020 took a huge toll on people’s well-being. The pandemic can impact mental health.  People with risk factors such as fear of unemployment, job loss, business failure or financial loss, inability to support family, fear of homelessness, or even fear of Covid; many are vulnerable to suicide. Unfortunately, it is not the current situation that causes feelings of no hope, and that suicide is the only way out. It is often the situation that is the tip of the iceberg.

Dr. Scowcroft says that it’s important to “ensure that in the coming months, support is prioritized for groups already at increased risk of suicide” (Wilson, 2020). People with mental health conditions of moderate-severe level, middle-aged men, and young people with self-harm cases are more likely to face severe challenges.

Another tragedy:

Young man with anxiety

Indeed, young males are the most vulnerable. Sadly another announcement of a young man just starting the next most important stage of his life as a student at University could not cope with lockdown anxiety and has taken his own life.  The impact on his fellow students, staff, and, more importantly, his family will be devastating. More people will feel worse, and the cycle of deepening anxiety leading to depression goes on.

In the year 2019:

Main Points regarding statistics of male suicide number and rate in 2019

  • In England and Wales, 5,691 suicides were registered.
  • Among men, 4,303 deaths, i.e., three-quarters deaths from suicide, were registered in 2019 (The Guardian, 2020).
  • In England, 4,017 deaths were reported among men.
  • Males continued to reported as three-quarters of suicide deaths registered in 2019
  • Suicide is the foremost cause of death for men under the age of 50.
  • Males with an age range of 45 to 49 years had the highest age-specific suicide rate (25.5 per 100,000 males)

Numbers of suicide in males by age group in the UK, 2016-2018

In the graph given below, SAMARITANS reported suicide statistics in males in years 2016, 2017,and 2018 i.e.4,508; 4, 382; and 4,903 respectively. The graph clearly represents the increased suicide rate in men in 2018 and, more importantly, in the age range of the 40s.

Note: x-axis: age group (years); y-axis: number of deaths. Source: Suicide Statistics report: Latest statistics for the UK and Ireland (2019) by SAMARITANS

 

The following table shows the average age range of men as victims of suicide in 2018:

Country Name The average age range of men
United Kingdom 45-49
England 45-49
Scotland 35-44
Wales 40-44
Ireland 55-64

More suicide is reported at a comparatively early age in Scotland, whereas in Ireland, suicide is alarming in the old age group.

A global overview of suicide rate in males:

Globally, the suicide rate for men is twice as high as for women. In many countries, this ratio is even higher (Ritchie, Roser & Ortiz-Ospina; Our world in data). Just as the world deals with the same pandemic – the world deals with the same problems – high suicide rates among men.

The table shows the suicide rate in men (per 100,000) in worldwide 2016-17 (Source: WHO)

Afghanistan 7.6
Argentina 15.1
Australia 19.5
Bangladesh 4.3
Belgium 27.8
Brazil 10.0
Canada 18.1
China 9.1
Denmark 16.8
Germany 19.7
India 17.8
Iraq 3.4
Iran 5
Ireland 18.5
Italy 12.1
Japan 26.0
New Zealand 17.9
Pakistan 2.8
Republic of Korea 45.1
Russian Federation 55.9
Sri Lanka 23.5
United States of America 22.8

 

Source: https://www.who.int/gho/publications/world_health_statistics/2019/EN_WHS_2019_Annex2.pdf?ua=1

Why is the suicide rate higher among men?

Dr. Liz Scowcroft, Head of Research & Evaluation at Samaritans, states that “there is no single reason that three-quarters of suicides are by men and middle-aged men have consistently had the highest suicide rates for decades.”

Several social, cultural, and economic factors affect suicide risk among men. The most apparent reason is that men find it difficult to open up about their concerns and problems. They are hard to talk about that. Deprivation is one of the major factors in male suicide. ‘Gold standard’ of masculinity puts pressure on men. Whispers like; “You are a failure, divorced, useless, unable to secure that job, house, car, woman, or children, etc.” (Sutherland, 2018). The outward expression of male distress causes significant problems for others (Source: https://www.mensmindsmatter.org/).

Etiological factors of suicide

In previous years in the UK, common suicide methods are reported as hanging, strangulation, and suffocation, i.e., 61.7% of all suicides among males (Office for National Statistics, 2020). The most common method is hanging, and the second most used method is poisoning.

Retrieved from https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/suicidesintheunitedkingdom/2019registrations

WHO categorize the etiological factors into the following groups:

Societal factors:

  • Difficulties in receiving or accessing care
  • Easy access to the means and methods of suicide (medications or weapons)
  • Inappropriate and incorrect media reporting
  • Poverty
  • Social isolation and lack of social support
  • Experiences of discrimination
  • Experiences of disaster, war, or conflict

Psychological factors:

  • Experiences of trauma or abuse (domestic, physical, or sexual)
  • Bereavement

Cultural factors:

  • Not having the same type of social network as most women.
  • Difficult to adjust to change in the environment like retirement
  • Stigma related to mental health

Individual factors:

  • Relationship breakdown
  • Unemployment
  • Past suicide attempt
  • Self-harm behaviors
  • Any mental illness or problems, i.e., depression, irritability, anger, or hostility (One adult in six has a common mental disorder).
  • Workplace and financial issues are more common for 20-24 year-olds
  • Any family history of suicide (Baffour, 2018)
  • Poor problem-solving and coping skills
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Physical illness or disability
  • Lack of sleep (87% of rough sleepers are men)
  • Housing problems include homelessness
  • Being in prison
  • Feelings as a failure or inadequate
  • Postpartum depression

Among young people

  • Academic pressure common among young people under 20s
  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Exposure to bullying
  • Unhealthy school environments for children and young people

Among middle-aged men

  • Economic adversity
  • Alcoholism
  • Isolation
  • Less incline of seeking help
  • Drug poisoning/ drugs used in overdose
  • Excessive use of alcohol (Men are three times more likely than women to become alcohol dependent (8.7% of men; 3.3% of women – Health and Social Care Information Centre, 2017)
  • lower life satisfaction (Men report significantly lower life satisfaction than women (Reference: ONS))

Other methods of suicide:

  • Firearm and flames
  • Smoke
  • Self-poisoning
  • Gun control
  • Inhalation of domestic gas
  • Unspecified events

Suicide is like a virus, which unknowingly kills people. Three times as many British men are its victims than women. It can be reported that men between the age of 20 and 49 are more likely to die by suicide rather than cancer, road accidents or heart disease, etc. It is one of the biggest threats to humanity. Male suicide is referred to as a “silent epidemic.” High incidence and level of contribution to men’s mortality cannot improve the lack of public awareness.

At TRE UK®, we do not see it as silent – because the odds are stacking up, and we know how the story goes. 

Human beings ars stress buckets – and your Bucket, like everyone else, starts to fill from the day you were born.  Depends on the cards life dealt you, and what you are currently going through will be the measure of your physical, mental, and emotional well being.  If you are struggling to cope, your body is saying you need to release it.  But how do you do that?  Your options are limited and often expensive and ineffective in the long term.  From medication, which is a sticking plaster, it can often lead to addictions because of the dependency, self-medication, alcohol, drugs, smoking, or anything else again, causing further problems or other services through a therapist counselor or at rock bottom Samaritans.  In truth, the only one who can empty the Bucket is you.  Your body knows how too.

The Total Release Experience® is a totally unique self-help programme that will empower you to take back control of your well-being.  If you are a student in lock-down or are reading this and have a son struggling, make sure they are not going into a downward spiral.

 References

ANNEX 2: Tables of health statistics by country, WHO region, and globally. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/gho/publications/world_health_statistics/2019/EN_WHS_2019_Annex2.pdf?ua=1

Baffour, D. F. (2018) Male Suicide: A Silent Epidemic. The British Psychological Society. Retrieved from https://www.bps.org.uk/blogs/dr-funke-baffour/male-suicide-silent-epidemic

ITV News (2020). ‘Worrying trend’ as data show male suicide rate highest in twenty years. Retrieved from https://www.itv.com/news/2020-09-01/male-suicide-rate-highest-in-twenty-years-new-data-shows

Latest statistics for the UK and Republic of Ireland (2019). Suicide Statistics report-SAMARITANS. Retrieved from https://media.samaritans.org/documents/SamaritansSuicideStatsReport_2019_Full_report.pdf

Manders, B., and Windsor-Shellard, B. (2020). Suicides in England and Wales: 2019 registrations. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/suicidesintheunitedkingdom/2019registrations

Men’s mind matters. (, 2020). Coping in a Crisis: The New MMM Coronavirus Survival Guide. Retrieved from https://www.mensmindsmatter.org/

MENTAL HEALTH, (2017). Statistics on mental health and men. Men’s Health Forum. Retrieved from https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/key-data-mental-health

Mental health foundation (2019). Suicide. Retrieved from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/s/suicide

Samaritans. (, 2019). Suicide facts and figures. Retrieved from https://www.samaritans.org/about-samaritans/research-policy/suicide-facts-and-figures/

Suicidal feelings. Retrieved from https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/suicidal-feelings/causes-of-suicidal-feelings/

Suicide. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml

Sutherland, R. (2018). Tackling the root causes of suicide. Retrieved from https://www.england.nhs.uk/blog/tackling-the-root-causes-of-suicide/

The Guardian (2020). The male suicide rate hits two-decade high in England and Wales. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/sep/01/male-suicide-rate-england-wales-covid-19

UK News (2020). Male suicide rate highest for two decades, new data shows. Express & Stars. Retrieved from https://www.expressandstar.com/news/uk-news/2020/09/01/male-suicide-rate-highest-for-two-decades-new-data-shows/

WHO. (, 2018). Suicide rate estimates, crude, 15-29, and 30-49 years estimates by country: Global Health Observatory data repository. Retrieved from https://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.MHSUICIDEAGEGROUPS15293049?lang=en

Wilson, S. (2020). Why do more men commit suicide than women? Latest ONS statistics show male suicide rate highest for 20 years. Yorkshire and the Humber saw the highest rate of death by suicide in 2019. Retrieved from https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/health/why-do-more-men-commit-suicide-women-latest-ons-statistics-show-male-suicide-rate-highest-20-years-2960748.