Male Suicide: The Silent Epidemic

The serious gender gap in suicide, all the top 10 causes of death, and lifespan.

Posted Oct 07, 2015

SaccharineSmile, Public Domain
Source: SaccharineSmile, Public Domain

Men are four times as likely as women to commit suicide.

That gender gap increases over the lifespan: "The male suicide rate goes from equal to females’ prior to adolescence to five times as high between age 20 and 24. Men over 85 have a suicide rate 1300% higher.

Perhaps surprising, the rate is highest among whites and lowest among African Americans and Hispanics.

White male suicide is up 40% in the last decade.

Possible causes are increased difficulty in finding good employment, relentless  disparagement of white men in colleges and the media, and that men's health declines earlier, making them more likely to want to end their misery. Men die earlier of all ten of the top-10 causes of death, and men's lifespan deficit has increased from just one year in 1920 to five years today.

Whatever the causes, the BC Medical Journal described male suicide as "a silent epidemic." Yet it receives far less media attention let alone research and intervention dollars than less deadly problems. One wonders whether, if females committed suicide at a much higher rate than men, there would be similar inaction.

Or would the reaction be more like, for example, when women have a less deadly deficit such as "under-representation" in STEM fields? In response to that, schools, colleges, government, nonprofits, the media, and even corporate America, have undertaken a decades-long effort to get more women into those jobs, in unvarnished terms, to replace men with women.

As cited above, the high suicide rate for men is merely one of the 10 leading causes of death, and men die earlier than women in all 10 categories. And in the ultimate health gap, men die five years earlier, up from just one year in 1920. There are four widows for every widower.

The gender death gap is a serious, important, and under-discussed issue.

I invite readers to ask themselves if the relentless message that women are treated unfairly should be tempered.

Marty Nemko's bio is in Wikipedia.

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