How Social Factors Impact Male Suicide and Suicide Prevention?
After looking at male suicide as a whole in episode 122, Where we learnt how suicide rates, the general psychology behind suicide and why it’s increasing. We now need to investigate a new approach to treating and preventing male suicide. And this will be very eye-opening for all of us!
This episode has been sponsored by Formulation In Psychotherapy. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it.
How Socials Factors Impact Male Suicide?
Like all mental health conditions, male suicide is caused by a number of different interacting factors, but social factors will be the focus of this episode. Simply because these are the factors that can be changed to create more user friendly services for men, building upon the last episode.
Furthermore, the following groups are most likely to be affected by male suicide:
· Unemployed Men
· Divorced Men
· Military Veterans
· Aboriginal Men
· Men with mental health conditions
In addition, the reason why we’re looking at these groups of men is simple. For a lesser or greater extent, all these groups share the themes of social isolation, suspicion from wider society, financial strains amongst others. Not only does all this put an additional strain on their mental health, but all these factors can sadly result in wider society giving them a lack of empathy for one reason or another.
All meaning these groups of men are less likely to get the empathy and support they need.
This is a particularly awful social factor for everyone, but even more so for these groups of men. Due to when people experience a perceived or real rejection from society then this can lead to a strong sense of social alienation. Leading to the person feeling like they don’t have a purpose or meaning in their life anymore.
Both of those are primary reasons for staying alive.
If we use a practical example, in most western countries (the US, UK, France, etc) men tend to get meaning from their lives from two sources. (And yes I know I’m being generic here but it shows the point perfectly) They tend to get meaning and purpose from being in the workforce and being the centre (or head) of a family.
Therefore, when a man loses his family in a divorce or losses his job and becomes unemployed, this can put massive strains on their mental health. As the men could believe they don’t have meaning or purpose in their life anymore.
Stereotypes and Male Suicide
Additionally, stereotypes that stigmatise individuals. Like aboriginal men, men with mental health conditions and veterans. These can have even more damaging consequences because these stereotypes lead to people not having as many opportunities for work or dating in the first place, so this leads them to not socially integrating and becoming marginalised.
Leading to social alienation again.
And this is why I hate with a passion with stereotypes because most of them are so completely wrong, so they only do more damage for no flaunt of the sufferer. For example, the stupid myth about everyone with a mental health condition is dangerous or depressed people are just lazy.
But hopefully over time these myths, lies and stereotypes will get less and less powerful.
What Does This Mean For Prevention Programmes?
Now we know the information, how do we apply it to the real world and hopefully try to save lives?
If we’re going to talk about a new or renewed approach to help prevent male suicide. Then the programme would have to do at least three things.
Firstly, just like the principles of Formulation, we would have to tailor-make the therapy or support to the male in particle. Therefore, the man would get tailored support to their needs to make sure the transition they’re undergoing is as easy as possible. Like in a divorce or them becoming unemployed.
Secondly, like I talk about in Abnormal Psychology Third Edition, the psychotherapy or support would have to be adapted to become cultural appropriate since that works best (check out the book for studies). For example, you would have to adapt the therapy given to Aboriginal men in a different way to military veterans to make sure the therapy is as effective as possible.
Finally, the overall mental health service (which is somewhat broken as it due to budget cuts, the focus on the biomedical focus and other factors) definitely has a role to play. Since research shows that men prefer grassroots services and local programmes for their mental health, so support through be developed through local services.
Some of these grassroot places include spiritual or religious organisations, local peer-to-peer support groups and other non-profits. As well as these organisations are actually well placed to help with mental health, the feelings of social alienation and loss of meaning and purpose in life.
After covering the basics of male suicide, I know that there is a lot that needs to change in the world before the silent crisis of male suicide can start to slow down, and hopefully stop one day. But I really hope by talking about the psychology of suicide on the podcast, I can start to educate people about it. (And educate myself too)
In the following suicide-based podcast episodes, we’ll start to look at the really interesting aspects of suicide and cover aspects I had no idea were related to suicide. So fascinating episode ahead!
But please, if you, your friends or anyone you know ever thinks about suicide, please seek professional help. There are some links at the bottom of the post to help if needed.
If you want to learn more, please check out:
FREE AND EXCLUSIVE 8 PSYCHOLOGY BOOK BOXSET
Formulation In Psychotherapy. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it.
Have a great day!
Clinical Psychology Reference:
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If you or someone you love is contemplating suicide, seek help immediately. For help 24/7 contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK, or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.