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Suicide can be viewed as a response to extreme stress and buildup of different emotions over a certain period of time. The levels of tolerance for emotions such as sadness vary from one individual to another, and being overwhelmed or overpowered by these emotions can drive one to commit suicide. The tolerance levels are affected by age and gender among other factors. According to the American Foundation for suicide prevention (AFSP), the number of reported suicide deaths is higher in men than in women. In a study they conducted in 2017, the number of male suicides was 3.54 times more than that of females. The aim of this paper is to discuss the reason behind the gender difference in suicide rates, and what makes it more prevalent among the American males. Olson (2018), believes that most men suppress their feelings to a point where they turn into irritability or anger. She states that men are afraid to show any sign of vulnerability, as this might lead others to question their masculinity.
Keller (2018) however states that the rate of suicide in females increased drastically between 1990 and 2018 than it did in males over the same period of time, which contradicts the report drawn by the AFSP. Though the two disagree on how fast the rates are increasing, they seem to agree that more males are committing suicide now than they did ten years ago. This data is alarming since the same has been observed in several other countries around the world. A report drawn by World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016 showing comparison between male and female death rates in different age groups indicates that globally, more men commit suicide as compared to women. For this reason, we should look into factors that prompt men to commit suicide, in order to find solutions to this problem before it is too late.
Since suicide is often triggered by a prolonged state of depression. This can be brought about by various factors, among them, financial instability, which takes a harder hit on men than women since culturally, men are viewed as the providers of the family. Inability to provide a good life for their wives and kids makes men feel like a disappointment to their family, and therefore makes them fall into a deep pit of depression which when not treated fast could drive them to suicide.
Sexual assault also contributes greatly in the men suicide rates. Less men open up about sexual assault as compared to women since they view it as a sign of weakness. A study conducted in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control revealed that one in every six men has been sexually assaulted, and that those who reported of sexual abuse were involved in serious cases. From this data, it is clear that men only reach out to authorities for help when they are forced to reveal what happened. This makes it harder for them to receive help before they are driven to commit suicide.
In cases where a couple wants to get a child together but the husband discovered to be infertile, this puts a lot of pressure on him. This might cause depression or anxiety in men since they feel they are unable to live up to the expectations of their families or society at large. Though there are other options such as use of donors or adoptions, such men will continue to feel like a disappointment to their families. If this issue is not addressed efficiently, it could lead to them committing suicide.
Failure to secure a job in most cases causes increased stress levels in men. Though the position of stay at home wives has been normalized, it is almost unheard of for a man to stay without a job while his wife works a nine to five. A recent study in the trends of unemployment rates in the United States shows that unemployment rates in men are higher than in women (Albanesi.S & Sahin.A, 2018). This could be one of the causes of the increase in male suicide rates, since unemployment could lead to depression in men who feel like they are over relying on their wives.
These and many others are responsible for the increasing suicide rates in men. This can however be put to an end by implementing measures. Family members could try to be more accommodative of men in their lives, and try to engage them in personal talks which will reassure them that they are cared for. Offering financial support to them in times of need without making them feel like they owe anything will help in showing that they can depend on their close friends and family. These are just but a few measures that can be put in place to help lower or completely eradicate suicide among males in the United States.
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