The BBC has just broadcast an hour-long Horizon documentary, “Stopping Male Suicide”. BBC licence fee payers can watch the programme on iPlayer – here – for the next 29 days. It’s well worth watching, but predictably an obvious question wasn’t asked, and therefore wasn’t addressed:
Are men more likely than women to suffer the deeply stressful life events which increase the risk of committing suicide?
Followers of this blog won’t need reminding that the answer to the question is a resounding YES. Those life events include:
- denial of access to children, following family breakdowns
- denial of support to male victims of domestic violence
- financial devastation following divorce
- homelessness (90% of the street homeless are men)
The state, through its actions and inactions, is responsible for most male suicide.
The programme sought to attribute the high male suicide rate to the usual litany of explanations, including:
- mental health issues (although women suffer more from mental health issues)
- men not seeking help, not talking about their problems. What can a mental health professional do to help fathers gain access to their children following family breakdowns? Nothing.
- more lethal methods of attempting suicide, compared with women. The possibility that men choose those methods because they’re genuinely seeking to end their lives, while many (most?) female suicide “attempts” are cries for help, wasn’t even considered as a possibility
The issue of suicide was explored in our 2015 general election manifesto (pp. 46-8).
My article on male suicide, and the contribution of reactive depression resulting from stressful life events, published by the International Business Times in 2015, is here.