After wanting to do a psychology podcast episode for a while on suicide, I’ve finally felt like I’m ready to do one because this is a difficult topic for anyone, some more than others. Because no one wants to talk about suicide and I understand it because it is a “dark” topic. But that creates problems because people experiencing suicide ideation, don’t feel like they can talk to anymore about it.
Therefore, the aim of this episode is to help shine some light on the psychology of suicide so we can all become more aware.
This episode has been sponsored by Abnormal Psychology: The Causes and Treatments of Depression, Anxiety and More Third Edition. 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.
In the USA around 35,000 men commit suicide each year because of various factors and some of these we will look at today. In other words, in the USA that means 1 man kills themselves every 15 minutes.
In Canada, around 3,000 men die each year by suicide, over 50 men each week.
Also I know I’m only talking about men here and that’s because in the USA 75% of suicides are done by men.
In addition the most concerning thing about this is that these rates are rising because the US Centers for Disease Control report found that suicide rates had increased by around 2% from 2006 to 2017. As well as this might not sound like a lot but it’s actually a 26% percent increase from 1999.
Therefore, I just want to stop for a moment and… say how scary this is. Personally this scares me that so many men (and women) feel the need to commit suicide because that life has gotten so bad and they don’t feel like they have any other option.
Additionally, I know a lot of people who have never experienced suicidal ideation can’t fully understand it, and some even just call these people attention seekers. (That’s outrageous) But as humans we are hard-wired to survive, live and pass on. What I’m trying to say here is no one wants to commit suicide for no reason.
These people feel like they have to commit suicide.
Inadequate Suicide Prevention Measures:
Before I talk about the next section, I want to mention that I am not discrediting, attacking or “slating” current suicide prevention services, what I am doing is commenting on them from a book called Men’s Issues and Men’s Mental Health by Springer that the book points out are core arguments about the existing approaches.
Also as I’ve mentioned on the podcast before, in psychology I love how we’re always critical thinking so we can improve services so we can help people and make their lives better.
The first argument the book makes is about the narrow focus on the concept of masculinity and how it lacks any peripheral vision to look at the adverse social context experienced by many men.
Personally, I have always said this and this point extends into societal factors as a whole. Since traditionally men are meant to be strong, emotionless people who get on with male jobs, and they leave the women to be the emotional wrecks that society depicts them as.
This traditional view of men is useless, extremely unhelpful and it is a major factor in male mental health, because of this societal view men don’t want to come forward and get professional help. Due to getting professional help makes them look less manly, weak, pathetic and all that other rubbish that society thinks about men who want to better their lives.
Therefore, this traditional view of men does need to change.
Blaming, Shaming and Male Deficits:
This is another great point to make about suicides and this can be taken in two parts.
The first can be broadened to all suicides there is a blame and shame culture around suicide because I’ve heard of tons of comments from people from all walks of life blaming the person who committed suicide for their actions. But I want to come back to an earlier point because no one wants to kill themselves, there are factors in their life (both genetic and environmental) that make them feel like they have no other option.
So the fact that instead of looking at their life and blaming those factors, people feel the need to blame the person who killed themselves because they felt they had no other option.
This is just… sad, outrageous and awful that as a society we feel like it’s okay to do that.
In addition, it is possible that this is one reason why people don’t speak out that they’re experiencing suicidal ideation because they don’t want to be blamed for how they’re feeling. As well as I mention this in different forms in various mental health episodes of the Podcast.
This is sadly nothing new.
However, on the flip side, there’s blaming male mental health on alleged male deficits. For example, males are typically stubborn. I know some men are, but that is no excuse not to help people or not take their mental health seriously.
Male Friendly Services
Now this is an argument I’ve adopted from the references below because the friendliness of a mental health services towards a group of people is always a problem in clinical psychology, and this is where the problem with the lack of diversity within clinical psychology really shows itself.
Therefore, I want to hammer it home again because with the lack of male clinical psychologists from different backgrounds. It means that there are that many relatable people that men can have therapy with and build a therapeutic alliance.
Since men might not want to talk about their difficulties in front of a woman because they may believe they shouldn’t look “weak” in front of the fairer sex. This is where a male therapist who they can relate with could be useful.
Originally, I was going to go on to talk about more the nitty-gritty findings of suicides in men but I’ll save that for another podcast episode.
Yet I do want to finish up by saying if you or someone you love is complementing suicide, please, please, please seek immediate help.
In the UK, you can contact Samaritans and Mind.
In the US, you can use the 24/7 contact service at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK, or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.
If you’re in a different country, please find your country’s equivalent and get help.
If you want to learn more, please check out:
Abnormal Psychology: The Causes and Treatments of Depression, Anxiety and More Third Edition. 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 References:
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