Suicide: the biggest killer of men under 45

Sonia Howe

In 2014, there were 4,623 male suicides in the UK, accounting for 76% of all suicides. Every two hours, a man takes his life in the UK.

Research published by the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) following survey work that the helpline carried out with the research organisation YouGov, highlights the significant risks of male suicide: over one third (42%) of British men aged 18 to 45 say they have contemplated taking their own lives.

The landmark research also shows that the largest proportion, 41%, of men who contemplated ending their own lives never spoke to anyone about their feelings, including medical professionals, family members or friends. Of these men, the reasons for not talking about these feelings included not wanting people to worry about them (32%), not wanting to talk about their feelings (29%) and not wanting to cause a fuss (24%).

Despite the fact that suicide is the single biggest cause of death of men in this age group, a recent YouGov poll shows that only a fifth (20%) of the public realise that suicide is the most likely cause of death for men aged under 45.

Based on data published by Office of National Statistics (ONS), General Register Office (GRO) and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), CALM concludes that there were 6,109 probable suicides in the UK in 2014, of which 76% or 4,623, were male. In line with Department of Health reporting, figures presented are for persons aged 15 years and over and suicide is defined as deaths given an underlying cause of intentional self-harm or injury/poisoning of undetermined intent.

CALM has joined forces with the men’s grooming brand Lynx to launch the #BiggerIssues campaign to raise awareness of how serious the issue of male suicide is. Digital poster sites will be updated in real time to chart major conversation topics on social media and how, while people are happy to talk about novelty items, league tables, fleeting fashion trends and soap storylines, male suicide remains a taboo subject.

The campaign culminates on International Men’s Day (Thursday 19th November) and aims both to raise awareness of this hugely important issue and get people to talk about it. On International Men’s Day itself, Lynx and CALM will aim to get the topic trending on Twitter to turn male suicide into a national conversation. You can sign up to give your voice to this conversation at: www.biggerissues.co.uk

Jane Powell, CEO of CALM told Helplines Partnership that “The results of this research, together with the latest mortality statistics, show that we urgently need to raise the nation’s awareness of this hugely important and under-discussed issue.

“Male suicide is tragically the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK, and 12 men take their own lives every day – a fact few people are even aware of, let alone talking about.

This isn’t an issue which affects ‘other people’ or one that can be solely reasoned to mental health issues, considering suicide is clearly something many men will consider should their life circumstances change. Of those men polled, the largest proportion of those who’d thought about suicide never actually talked to someone about it and the reasons they didn’t talk reinforce the norms of what society think it is to ‘be a man’ – not to talk about their feelings or make those around them worry”

In the past 12 months, CALM has taken over 40,000 callers via its helpline and webchat. CALM’s free, confidential accredited helpline and webchat service are available every day of the week from 5pm to midnight, staffed by professionals, on 0800 585858 (national) 0808 802 5858 (London) and www.thecalmzone.net

 

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