More often than not, many believe that suicide is a gender-neutral issue that needs to be addressed considering men and women both without specifications. However, believe it or not, there are various gender differences in suicide that need to be made aware among people.
The suicide prevention programmes have considered men as a high-risk group because more men than women die by suicide.
Why? Let’s understand that.
Why more men than women die by suicide: Understanding suicide among men
Across the world, there is an accepted fact that women are more likely to try to kill themselves than men, but more are more likely to die from it. The reason behind these suicide facts and figures is that men often put their feelings and emotions under the carpet and not about it. In addition, they use more violent means to end their lives.
The last point may not stand to be true in every case, but more often than not, men are considered to kill themselves through guns or other such firearms. On the other hand, women generally kill themselves by consuming pills.
Why do men subjugate their feelings?
As mentioned earlier, one of the primary reasons why men die by suicide is their inclination to subjugate their feelings and emotions. But why do men do that?
As a matter of fact, one has suicidal tendencies due to an underlying mental health condition that is not acknowledged properly by individuals themselves and due to the lack of professional support thereof.
However, you might observe that not everyone with an underlying mental health condition is suffering from suicidal tendencies. Such people are aware of what’s going inside their mind and body and to find a solution for it, they often seek support from their family, friends and various other support groups.
Be that as it may, when it comes to men who are deeply conditioned in a traditional old-fashioned family which supports the concepts of toxic masculinity, will find the issues related to mental health denigrating. They would constantly try to invalidate their feelings and repress them, which eventually manifests negatively in their lives.
Think about it. If you do not find a healthy outlet for your strong emotions, you will certainly find them turning toxic in your mind. One of the best ways to let out your negative emotions is to cry. Although the society that you live in right now may not be supportive of this act, you need to understand that crying is a very natural, normal and human thing to do. It will help you not cleanse your toxicity out of your body, but also relieve you of the emotional burden that you encumbered on your shoulders.
And if you think that being vulnerable means being weak, then you couldn’t be more wrong. Being vulnerable is the most courageous thing that anyone can do in their life. It is to be open about what you feel and to say it without any shame or hesitation. You don’t have to keep things to yourself just so you can look more masculine. Remember, an individual’s sex is determined at their birth, but gender is what one decides for himself or herself.
The society that you live in differentiated between a man and woman, imposed the definition of masculinity and femininity. You decide what is masculine and what is feminine for you.
Another underlying gender difference between mentally ill men and women is that you’ll probably be a woman crying to feel her depression. On the other hand, you’ll find a man suffering from depression with increased anger, irritability, aggression and substance abuse.
Saying openly what you’re feeling inside is an act of courage and not cowardice. So, if you or your friend is going through something like this, then speak up, man! Don’t wait for the last straw. You don’t want to reach that stage and make your life miserable. Speak up, embrace the discomfort first and then acknowledge who you are at the core and believe it or not, you’ll be surprised in the end.
Are some groups of men more vulnerable to die by suicide?
The answer is yes. Certain sub-groups such as the men belonging from the LGBTQIA+ community, indigenous men and men who have suffered or are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are more vulnerable than other groups.
In addition, your financial condition can also take a toll on your mental health. Men belonging to lower strata of society with a low income might also be considered vulnerable. Your childhood experiences can either make you more sensitive or stone-cold. Therefore, it is very important to address the mental health issues that you are dealing with and not hide behind the curtain of societal conventions that will only make you more and more isolated.
What is the solution to this problem?
One of the best solutions to this problem is to seek help. And that can be only achieved when you address the problem of toxic masculinity in society. One thing you need to know is that the concept of masculinity can be fully eradicated from society. If it does, it will probably be after decades. You cannot afford those decades to finally address your problem.
So, rather than depending upon society to impose upon you what a ‘man’ is, why don’t you go ahead and decide the definition of a man just for yourself. This man openly addresses his emotions and feelings. This man is not afraid to be vulnerable in front of people. This man is willing to validate his negativity and ready to find a solution for it. This man wants to live his life on his terms and not on the terms decided by society.
Be this man.
When you become this man, society will no longer observe that more men than women die by suicide. In fact, you might inspire other women and who knows, maybe the suicidal rates among women are also reduced.
All it takes to change your life is to be this man.
Recommended reading: Men Facing Domestic Violence: The Silent Suffers