The Other Health Risk For Middle-Aged Men: Suicide

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  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    37,000 suicides. What number were middle-aged men?
    Place amongst other causes can be a matter of solving other causes.
    If lung crud–this is a hypo–were first in killing men, and suicide fifth, solving lung crud would elevate suicide to fourth without any change in the numbers.

    • I didn’t see where there was an answer in this thread about how many middle-aged men died by suicide (of the 38,364 suicides in the U.S. in 2010), so here it is, from WISQARS, the CDC’s online source of fatal injury data (at http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/fatal.html): 14,263 men between the ages of 40 and 64 died by suicide in the U.S. in 2010, which is 37% of the total fatalities. In case there is variation regarding what age group people might consider “middle-aged,” I’ve inserted below the breakdown for male suicide in the U.S. by age group for 2010 (and included the death rate per 100,000 population). Please note that for men age 45-59 in the U.S., the suicide rate is more than 30 per 100K (and the rate for the entire U.S.population as a whole is about 12 per 100K), which highlights the gravity of the situation:

      AGE / #DEATHS / RATE-100K
      25-29 / 2,459 / 23.12
      30-34 / 2,184 / 21.85
      35-39 / 2,372 / 23.62
      40-44 / 2,661 / 25.60
      45-49 / 3,375 / 30.11
      50-54 / 3,358 / 30.71
      55-59 / 2,859 / 30.02
      60-64 / 2,010 / 24.88
      65-69 / 1,345 / 22.98

  2. Clair Horne says:

    Good article, I think Richard has missed the point a little, whist demonstrating the point at the same time. As a middle aged woman I worry about my middle aged husband . It is a shame men don’t get together and talk more about “sensitive”issues. I hope this article helps someone .

    • It is a shame men don’t get together and talk more about “sensitive”issues

      i remember being a teen in the late80s, reading about ‘new man’, drumming groups. those men lowered the mask-of-masculinity to reveal the ‘softer emotions’.
      i also remember ‘new man ‘ disappeared and the armour and the mask of masculinity being quickly redonned when socially progressive, not socially conservative, supposedly socially progressive women ridiculed these men in newspaper columns, and tele discussion shows (which for young people together with the local library was the internet, before the internet) for being weak, wimpy.

      • clair horne says:

        Jameseq , point taken. very sorry , fingers engaged before brain . Wanted to delete comment once i’d posted it but couldn’t work out how.

        • hey no worries, (i too would love the ability to delete a comment within a certain time).
          my comment was not an attack, and i hope it was not perceived as such – im not the most socially fluent. it was just to point out why a good number of western middleage men behave the way they do

          • clair horne says:

            jameseq , thank you for your understanding . Your point is very good and i think very true.Also I have a son and find that boys have to walk a tightrope between being sensitive and appearing manly .

    • Richard Aubrey says:

      You presume two things: One is that men don’t, and the other is that it would help.
      This is the default position: To the extent men differ from women, they’re defective. They must manifest the same emotions and in the same way as women do–as the lady’s mags say they should–or there’s something wrong with them.

      • Sarah Gaer says:

        Richard,
        You are correct. I know many men who do talk to their friends about such issues. They may not do it the way I (as a woman) would, but they do it and it works. This article was more targeting the many men I have spoken with who report that they don’t/wouldn’t. They are not sure how to or if they should say anything at all in fear of making their friend, brother, etc. more self conscious, angry, eshamed, etc. . You are also correct in your questioning wether it would work/help. In some cases, it may not. The person’s depression/mental illness has become too severe and they feel that they cannot recover, which is why we encouarge people to address depression as early as possible. But in many, many cases it does help. The individual realizes that they are not as alone as they thought they were and that people won’t judge them. Isolation is one of the most concerning risk factors for suicide so if we can help reduce that feeling, we can help. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments!

      • Today @Richard Aubrey is my hero….
        I’ve been thrashing around & he sums it up in less than 50 words.

        • Richard Aubrey says:

          Drew. You got power yet? Any views on FEMA?

          Bout fifteen years ago, I was in a terrible funk about something undone–and unthought of when I should have thought of it. Long story. An old friend, we go back to jump school, said, “You can’t fix somebody over a beer.” I thought about it and it took a lot of the pain out of my self-reproach. Simple enough. One sentence.
          So, sometimes it helps. But it was a short narrative followed by a single sentence.
          No wallowing.

  3. Sarah,

    The world of ‘men disclosing a childhood full of abuse” is full of guys 45-55 yrs-old. By this time, lots of life equity has been spent. Surely our youth is spent. For some, we look back and see “I never allowed myself to deal with ‘that!!’” Or maybe it was repressed a bit and suddenly kicks the door open into out lives.

    For many, the flood of memories, rage, pain, grief, etc is all too much to handle, and we check-out.

    No man will deal with Childhood Sexual Abuse until he’s ready, but society and the medical, religious and everything-else-world can certainly make it more acceptable to do so early in life, because middle-age is NO time to be dealing with such weapons-grade plutonium.

    I was hospitalized for sexual abuse physical injury in childhood. They did not want to investigate back then.
    I was hospitalized twice in adulthood for the emotional ramifications of the abuse. Even in these times, mental health professionals did not want to deal with the topic.

    All they had to suggest was “forgive and move-on, but we don’t deal with that here.”

    I’m seeing FAR too many teen and adult men leaving the stage, rather than dealing with the default societal roadblocks and scorn. But there are a lot of us working to change things for the youngest victims.

    Thank you for writing this excellent article. Guys whom have ‘been there’ read it with a degree of inter-mesh others won’t “get.”

    • Sarah Gaer says:

      Rob,
      Let me start by saying I am so sorry for what you have been through and your feeling that those who were supposed to support you didn’t, as if you were not in enough pain. Sexual abuse is another one of those topics that so many people (men and women) experience and yet we seem so afraid to talk about it. The ability to forgive is only one small part of the puzzle, and should be presented as for the benefit of the survivor and not the offender. With all of that said, I would like to think that the mental health field and medical fields have come a long way since your experiences but I know that it is entirely dependent on who you interact with. I always hope that when people seek mental health counseling they know that it is ok if they don’t feel comfortable with someone, to tell them or find someone else instead of giving up on counseling. A bad match can be damaging and at the same time, a good match can change a person’s life.
      Thank you for speaking up about your experiences. I believe that these uncomfortable and painful conversations are the route to making our nation, our community, our families, our counselors and educators and ourselves healthier and stronger! Be well.

      • Sarah, by the time most men make it to ‘middle age’, the one thing you realize is that the only person you can depend on is the one that looks back at you in the mirror. And when he doesn’t ‘give a s**t’, you’re in trouble!
        P.S. as someone who’s ‘stood on the edge’ I can tell you it’s not depression itself, but despair that ‘does the trick’.

  4. clair horne says:

    Richard my apology extended to you too .You too make some good points.

  5. Sarah, now don’t take this wrong. It’s just that whatever drives you to pursue this problem that men have in general, soceity doesn’t share it! It’s not that people are afraid to speak of this problem, it’s just that they DON’T CARE! For all I know it may be tied to the ‘Disposability’ of men, but the fact is , there’s an article on this site about gendered kids underware that’s gotten about 5X the response! If you reverse the gender and state 37,000 WOMEN died by their own hand in 2009, think of the uproar that would cause! A specific color would be designated and pro athletes in every major sport would be wearing matching wrist bands ,gloves, shoes, hats etc. Look, I’m not ‘crying the blues’. I.m just stating ‘That’s the way it is.’

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