Middle-aged men most likely to kill themselves

THERE has been a significant rise in the number of suicides between middle-aged men from 45-59 years old – according to the Office for National Statistics, (ONS). The total number of deaths for this age group rose sharply from 1,064 suicides in 2007 to 1,432 in 2012.

However, the males aged between 30 – 44 years old remain being at the highest risk of committing suicide with 1,464 deaths in 2012. The number of male deaths in this age group peaked in 1998 with 1,673 suicides; and the only period that these men were recorded as having a lower suicide rate than their slightly older peers was in 1981 and 1982.

Middle-age women between 30-59 years old have also been recorded as having the highest rates of suicide, but interestingly, the two age brackets (30-44 and 45-59), have approximately halved since 1981.

Total male deaths from suicide in the United Kingdom for 2012 were recorded at 4590 males with 1391 females. Although the total general suicide rate for the country is decreasing, the 2012 report shows that men are still around three times more likely to kill themselves than women.

According to mentalhealth.org, “around 90% of suicide victims suffer from a psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.” Another factor to consider is that the gender paradox of suicidal behaviour is a “real phenomenon” according to worldwide statistics and research where women tend to show more suicidal thoughts and behaviours – males have a much larger rate of actual death from attempt.

Generally, male suicide rates are influenced by cultural and traditional gender roles. Masculine roles tend to portray “greater strength, independence and risk-taking behaviours”. This often leads males to turn inwards rather than seek professional support for suicidal thoughts.

Also, it has also been suggested by accumulative research that middle-aged men are at considerable risk due to social and cultural changes between men and women. The rise in female employment could be the reasoning’s as to why there is a sharp incline in male suicides during mid-life as well as contributing to the steady decline in female deaths. However, it is also important to note that the interpretation of death by coroner can influence suicide statistics and figures.