Every year, one in four people deals with a mental health issue in the UK. Even though mental health issues are prevalent, a stigma is still associated with them, making it challenging to discuss. Guys who display emotion are not “real men,” according to societal gender norms. Due to this reputation, men may hide their feelings from appearing manly and strong. Thus, men are less likely than women to ask for friends’ or doctors’ advice when experiencing mental health problems like depression, anxiety or stress.

Suicide is the leading cause of death among men under the age of 35 in the UK, accounting for over 75% of all suicide deaths, reported by

These statistics show worldwide support for men’s mental health is urgently needed. Keep in mind that nobody is born wishing to die, making suicide an entirely preventable death. If these deaths are preventable, we need to have an urgent, ongoing discussion about how to address this. So, let’s look at the risk factors leading to suicidal intent and strategic pointers one needs to consider when engaging men in suicide prevention.

suicide prevention

Men’s Mental Health: Risk Factors Leading to Suicidal Intent

Rarely does “one” reason adequately explain why someone committed suicide. Various elements across the life period influence one’s suicidal behaviour, including environmental, sociocultural and psychological factors. The risk factors for suicide are also dynamic and differ across individuals and subgroups, ages and life stages. Despite this, men share several important risk factors for suicide, including:

Substance Abuse

Alcohol and drug use (particularly at high doses), as well as alcohol and other substance use disorders, are among the most substantial risk factors for suicide attempts and mortality. Not only does the consumption of alcohol and drugs increase the likelihood of a suicide attempt, deaths that involve them tend to be more violent and lethal (i.e., hanging, shooting, drowning) and thus more fatal.

suicide prevention

Social Isolation

Social isolation, loneliness, and loss of connectedness are important risk factors for suicidal thoughts and behaviours among men. These risks may be heightened among men experiencing relationship breakdown and those living alone. Research indicates that men are at higher risk for suicidal intent following a relationship breakdown and that being single, unmarried, divorced, or widowed significantly increases their risk for suicide.

Depression and Anxiety

Depression is one of the most well-studied and established risk factors for suicide (including ideation, attempts, and death). For men, a diagnosis of depression is among the strongest predictors of suicidal behaviours. Despite the depression, other mental health problems and illnesses, including anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and schizophrenia, have all been linked to increased risk of suicide attempts and death.

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Negative life events and adverse childhood experiences are associated with the onset of mental health disorders and suicide attempts, and deaths. A history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) or CSA co-occurring with other types of child maltreatment had much higher odds of having a mental health disorder and attempting suicide than those who experienced child maltreatment without CSA.

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is associated with suicidal behaviours, including ideation, attempts, and death. The level of risk associated with IPV may differ according to whether the person is the perpetrator, victim, or both. Nevertheless, IPV significantly worsens mental health outcomes, including depression and suicidal intent. It does so among perpetrators as well as victims, with higher suicidal intent for perpetrators than victims.

Men’s Mental Health: Warning Signs Leading to Suicidal Intent

It is sometimes more challenging to recognise warning signs of a problem because they might be faking their feelings. For instance, they might make a joke out of something truly alarming. Someone’s demeanour or behaviour changing could be a clue that they are considering suicide. When it comes to suicidal intent, trust your gut and be the judge of someone’s behaviour. The behavioural changes leading to suicidal intent include:

  1. Being overly anxious and more irritable
  2. Being more aggressive and acting recklessly
  3. Becoming quiet, negative and socially isolated
  4. Having mood swings, sleeping and eating disorders
  5. Avoiding contact with friends and family
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In addition to these, having different problems with work or studies, i.e., carrying out routine life stuff, becomes challenging for the ones developing suicidal behaviour. The suicidal risk increases when someone exhibits the following behavioural indicators:

  1. Expressing a threat to harm or kill oneself
  2. Discussing or writing about suicide, dying, or death
  3. Expressing gratitude or regret for no apparent cause
  4. Preparing to commit suicide, such as stockpiling drugs
  5. Putting things in order by making a will or donating items after a personal injury

Some people are reluctant to express their feelings out loud. However, if you have concerns about someone, you shouldn’t discount your intuition. Before attempting suicide, many people try to get help by talking to other people about their feelings. It might be a coworker, acquaintance, or relative. Don’t ignore someone who shares their feelings with you.

Mental Health Support for Men

Many guys believe they must “man up” to be a “true man” and keep their worries and feelings to themselves. Many of the guys we speak with feel weak expressing their feelings, and men consequently frequently believe they must be robust and in charge. Men may find it more challenging to open up and ask for support.

Mental Health Support for Men

According to research, men who find it difficult to express their feelings may be less able to recognise the signs of their mental health issues and less inclined to seek help. A hazardous coping mechanism, such as abusing alcohol or drugs, may result from this.

  1. Working with males requires developing rapport and trust. Informal settings promote sentiments of safety and trust among males
  2. Interventions should enhance or be integrated into the infrastructure, schedules and programmes understandable to males.
  3. Men should receive mental health interventions that are strengths-based. Instead of focusing on alleged issues or deficiencies, emphasise resilience, strength, and positive behaviour change.
  4. Men may encounter gender-specific hurdles when trying to get psychological services, which should be considered in outreach and service delivery.
  5. It is vital to include men as partners in their own mental health treatment and rehabilitation. This strategy promoted positive interactions among males.

Getting Help with Concise Medico!

Both men and women are equally likely to suffer from mental diseases; however, men with mental diseases are also less likely than women to have sought mental health care in the previous year. However, the first step in receiving therapy is realising that you or someone you love may have a mental disease. Treatment can be more effective if it starts sooner rather than later.

Call Mental Health Crisis Hotlines if you are in a crisis situation and are unable to keep yourself safe.

Give us a Phone Call or Contact Us to get the RIGHT Help.

Prioritise your Mental Health.

Give us a Phone Call or Contact Us from getting the RIGHT Help.

Prioritise your Mental Health.

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