June 28, 2018

Why do so many men commit suicide?

Gary, Barker, Slate - According to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on suicide, men are 77 percent of the 45,000 people who kill themselves every year in the United States. Similarly at the global level, according to the World Health Organization, men die by suicide at a higher rate than women do everywhere in the world—with a ratio ranging from 1.5:1 to 3:1—making up a majority of the more than 800,000 persons who kill themselves every year. Globally, suicides represent half of male violent deaths.

....In a survey my organization, Promundo, carried out with support from Axe, of 1,500 young men aged 18–30, we found that nearly 1 in 5 thought about suicide in the past two weeks. Which young men were more likely to think about suicide? Those who believed in a version of manhood associated with being tough, not talking about their problems, and bottling up their emotions were twice as likely to have considered suicide. Studies in other countries have found the same, namely that men with more restrictive ideas about manhood are more likely to think about suicide than young men who aren’t so stuck in the “man box.”

.... The CDC’s recent analysis of factors contributing to the increase in suicide rates in the U.S., released June 7, reads like a list of disproportionately masculine traits: mental health problems (often untreated or undiagnosed); alcohol or drug use (higher for men than women and often a solace for failed manhood); social or personal problems (for which men are not supposed to seek help); and access to firearms (again, mostly men).

.... Current data show that between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 working-age men—about 20 million—aren’t working, three to four times what it was during the 1950s. Many men among those feel a sense of what sociologist and masculinities expert Michael Kimmel calls “aggrieved entitlement.”

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1 comment:

Thomas Day said...

In this "me too" and neo-feminist world, I get really tired of hearing women talk about how easy men have it in the world while women have to struggle to be accepted as anything but housewives and hookers. That supportive world that women keep saying men live in is a fantasy and when they do find their way into the STEM world they discover it's not the easy route they hoped it would be. (https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-08-09/as-a-woman-in-tech-i-realized-these-are-not-my-people)

40 years ago, I found myself in engineering classes with the usual 20:1 male:female ratio and watched the professors bend over backwards to find ways to pass the women in our classes; including letting those women copy test questions from their boyfriends or even random good students. Later, in the work place I saw similar behavior from management in their rush to promote women engineers and technicians to prove their workplace gender equality. Even with those advantages, most of the technical-occupation women I worked with quit industry after a few years. The reason? It's a crap job with demanding hours, low pay (relative to less skilled mismanagement and finance positions), job insecurity, constant re-educational demands, and fierce competition. No reasonable person would consider engineering or any other STEM employment path. You have to be unreasonably obsessed to succeed and more balanced people find something easier to do.