This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

The male suicide scandal

Written by: | Published:

Male suicide is hard to talk about Male suicide is harder to raise awareness and funds for than most other causes

I’m writing this in Men’s Health Week – an area I’ve spent a lot of time reporting on, specifically in the area of what men die of earlier. Some of it was due to genetics, some lifestyle. But the one we seem to talk about the least is deliberate.

In the UK, three times as many men as women commit suicide, and nobody can tell us why. The demographics are significant. When it is addressed, the default stat is to tell us that it is the biggest killer of men under 45. True, but the age group most likely to commit suicide are the 45-59s, grappling with divorces, redundancies and the ever decreasing options of their lives. Their default mood is grumpy not melancholic. Think Victor Meldrew rather than Ian Curtis.

These are not people whose problems are taken seriously, according to Jane Powell, chief executive of Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), a pioneering male mental health charity. ‘It’s much easier to raise money for donkey sanctuaries or Victorian buildings,’ she told me. ‘Getting grants to help suicidal middle-aged men is akin to having a whip-around for estate agents.’

Those who try to understand the phenomenon point to men’s reluctance to discuss emotions. But that’s a cop-out. What little work the DH does on suicide skirts around the issue of gender, and fails to reach out to men. As Powell puts it: ‘No corporate brand aimed at men would get away with it.’

On current figures, 12 men will kill themselves today. That’s 12 avoidable deaths. Isn’t it time we found a way of talking to them rather than burying them?

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.



Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.