Suicide attempts are more common among women.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), in 2018, more than 48,000 people died by suicide in the United States, and an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts occurred. The AFSP also noted that men were 3.56 times more likely to die by suicide than women this year.
Suicide can be prevented. With treatment and lifestyle changes, people can start to feel better. They can learn to manage their symptoms and find joy in life again.
People who are in immediate danger of suicide or serious self-harm should call 911 or their local emergency number for immediate help.
In this article, we discuss male suicide in more detail. We list possible causes and risk factors and explain what to do if someone is at risk of suicide.
Causes and Triggers
There are many possible causes of suicide. Often, a combination of factors contribute to the initiation of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Usually, people who think about or attempt suicide do so because they feel they can no longer cope with life. They may feel hopeless, helpless, worthless, or alone, and they may believe that suicide is their only option.
These feelings can arise as a result of many conditions, including:
- military service
- the breakdown of a relationship
- financial or legal issues
According to one study, other causes and triggers for suicidal thoughts and attempts may include:
- physical discomfort
- conflict with family or friends
- the illness or death of a family member
Among males, specifically, one study indicates that significant triggers include:
- being single
One of the most important risk factors for suicide is being male. Studies show that women attempt suicide more often than men, but that men die by suicide more often than women.
Researchers have suggested that this may be because men use more lethal methods, such as firearms.
Research shows that genetic risk factors are also involved in suicide.
Other risk factors for suicide include:
- A personal history of suicide attempts
- A history of experiencing physical or sexual abuse
- Having a mental health disorder, such as depression or bipolar disorder
- Having a medical condition, such as chronic pain or terminal illness, that increases the risk of depression
- Alcohol and drug misuse or abuse
- Having suicidal thoughts and access to means of suicide, such as firearms or medication
- Being gay, bisexual, or transgender and experiencing discrimination or not receiving support from others
- A family history of mental illness, suicide, or substance abuse
- the initial use of some antidepressant medications, especially among children and adolescentsTrusted Source, although antidepressants are more likely to reduce suicidal risk in the long term
Although having a mental health disorder, such as depression, is a risk factor for suicide, not everyone who attempts suicide will have a known mental illness.
Warning signs of suicide or suicidal thoughts among males include:
- Extreme mood swings
- Talking about suicide, death, or dying
- Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
- Changes in a person’s eating or sleeping habits or other aspects of their routine
- Personality changes, such as severe anxiety or feelings of hopelessness
- Separating oneself from others
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- Obtaining a firearm or other means to die by suicide
- Giving money or goods
- Saying goodbye to people as if they will never see them again.
Not everyone will show signs of suicidal thoughts. Even when they do, the signs can be subtle. They can vary significantly from person to person.
How to Help Others
If a loved one is in immediate danger of suicide or has attempted suicide, call 911 for emergency help. Do not leave the person alone until help arrives.
People who have a loved one who is showing signs of suicidal thoughts or behaviors can help them:
- Asking the person if they are thinking about suicide.
- Listening to their concerns without belittling them
- Sharing your concerns with the person
- Encourage and support them to seek professional help
- Offer to accompany them for treatment
- They are trying to recover firearms and other means of suicide from their possession.
- Checking in with them regularly to see how they are
Helping someone at risk of suicide can be extremely harmful. It is important that caregivers take care of themselves. They may need to seek help from loved ones, support organizations and mental health professionals.
It’s also important to practice good self-care, including eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and spending time in enjoyable activities.
Male suicide is a common cause of death in the U.S. and other countries worldwide. There are many causes and triggers, including depression and feeling overwhelmed by life circumstances.