Suicide impacts families across all demographics and accounts for deaths within every age group, socioeconomic class, and race. However, statistics show that men commit suicide at a significantly higher rate than women, and it is critical for people to know how to recognize the signs of crisis in their loved ones. Suicide can be prevented, but only when people are willing to help or seek help.
Take signs of a potential suicide seriously and pursue professional help
When you are concerned about a loved one's mental health, especially if they are talking about suicide or harming themselves, it is imperative that you connect with them and encourage them to seek help. The site Save notes that males represent a significant percentage of the suicides that happen in the United States, and issues with mental health are often present. It can be difficult for men to admit that they need help, but there are resources available that can diffuse a situation where someone is on the brink of trying to commit suicide.
Healthline indicates that if you are connected to someone who you think is in the midst of an immediate crisis where they may harm themselves or someone else, you should call 911 or a local emergency number, or you can get them to the emergency room. The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention notes that there is a national helpline that can be reached by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or you can connect with the Crisis Text Line by texting the word “TALK” to 741-741.
If you are with someone who is considering suicide, stay with them until you can get help for them and make sure to clear away any potential weapons or items they could use to harm themselves. It is important that if you are noticing significant changes in a loved one, especially if depression is present or there has been a painful change, loss, or event recently, that you remain aware of potential issues and help that person seek help.
Men commit suicide at a significantly higher rate than females
While suicide can impact all age groups and both men and women, men reportedly represent 79% of all suicides in the United States. In addition, they commit suicide four times more often than females, even though females tend to have suicidal thoughts more often and attempt suicide more frequently. Statistics also show that military veterans may be at a higher risk of considering suicide than many other groups.
In terms of race, the National Institute of Mental Health notes that American Indians and Alaska Natives tend to be the ethnic groups that commit suicide at the highest rates, with non-Hispanic whites next. Asian and Pacific Islanders, and African Americans, tend to have the lowest rates of suicide.
There are some significant factors in addition to race and gender that come into play with suicide. Substance abuse, addiction, and depression are significant risk factors, and having a gun in the house raises the likelihood of suicide as well. In addition, prior abuse or family violence and previous attempts at suicide are concerning risk factors too.
Awareness and connection are key to preventing suicide
When it comes to suicide prevention, awareness is crucial. If you notice a loved one withdrawing from their family or favorite activities, or becoming agitated or aggressive, you should pay close attention and try to talk with them about what's wrong. Listen to that person and be empathetic and understanding, and encourage them to be physically active to combat depression and get treatment if they are facing issues with mental health, addiction, or substance abuse.
Suicide is preventable, but it is oftentimes not easy for people (especially men) in crisis to reach out for help. Males are at a higher risk than females of committing suicide, especially if they are in additional higher-risk groups like being a veteran, American Indian, or Alaska Native. Loved ones can help by listening when the men in their lives are facing depression, substance abuse, addiction, or intense stress, and connect them with assistance if they talk about wanting to harm themselves.