Suicide is a global public health issue that affects millions of lives every year. However, a concerning trend is the disproportionately high rate of suicide among men. It is time to shed light on this critical issue and initiate a conversation about the factors that contribute to this alarming statistic and how we can collectively work towards prevention.
The Silent Crisis
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that suicide rates are consistently higher among men compared to women in nearly every country around the world. The findings found that around 40% of countries have 15 suicide cases per 100,000 men. This gender disparity is a cause for concern and prompts us to question why men are more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts and actions.
Based on multiple studies and findings, they have concluded that these are the main reasons behind the higher rate of suicide rates among men:
1. Social expectation of masculinity
Societal norms often dictate that men should be strong, stoic, and unemotional. This pressure to conform to traditional and toxic masculine ideals can discourage men from seeking help for their mental health struggles. Expressing vulnerability is often perceived as a sign of weakness, leaving many men feeling isolated and unable to share their pain.
As such, it is particularly challenging for men to seek help for their mental health issues. Many men fear that admitting to their struggles could negatively impact their professional and personal lives.
2. Communication barriers
Men are often less likely to openly discuss their feelings or seek emotional support, especially in more conservative cultures where emotional expression is stigmatised. This lack of communication can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and despair, leading to a sense of hopelessness that can contribute to suicidal thoughts.
Some men may not even recognise their own struggles with mental health or may downplay their symptoms, leading to underreporting and misdiagnosis. This can prevent them from receiving the appropriate care and support they need.
Breaking down the Stigma
To address the high rate of suicide among men, we must first tackle the stigma surrounding mental health issues and promote open conversations. It is essential to create environments where men feel safe to share their emotions without fear of judgement or ridicule. Here’s how we can start:
1. Challenge gender norms
First and foremost, society’s expectations of masculinity need to evolve. We should celebrate vulnerability and emotional expression in men, emphasising that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
2. Promote emotional intelligence
Encouraging emotional intelligence from an early age can help individuals, both men and women, develop healthier coping mechanisms and communication skills. Schools and workplaces can incorporate emotional intelligence training into their curriculum and programs.
Educating the public about the signs of mental distress and the importance of seeking help can also be effective. Workshops, campaigns, and community events can help raise awareness and break down misconceptions.
3. Supportive networks
Creating supportive spaces where men can share their experiences can help reduce feelings of isolation. Men’s groups, online forums, and local community centres can offer safe spaces for open discussions.
One such safe space in Singapore is A Space Between, where a wide range of rooms are available for counselling and therapy sessions. Interested individuals can find a suitable professional counsellor in Singapore through our client matching service and decide on a suitable therapy space, such as the Seafoam Green Therapy Room or Rosewood Red Therapy Office. With these spaces, both men and women can feel comfortable and supported in their mental health journey.
Get in touch with us by emailing [email protected] or calling (65) 8233 3832 to find out more about our services.