When it comes to male suicide, do we know the half of it?
When a teacher I know asked her class, "If you were going to commit suicide, how would you do it?" most of the girls said, "By overdosing on pills or drugs " But half the boys said they would get drunk and either drive off a cliff or into a telephone pole
The method the girls chose – overdosing – becomes a statistic called attempted suicide or suicide (й la Marilyn Monroe) The method the boys chose gets recorded as a drunk-driving accident. Is it passible that we would have a more realistic picture of the numbers of male suicide attempts if we studied the frustrations of boys prior to drunk-driving accidents? If we did, perhaps we would be adding to the number of male suicides about half the number of deaths from drunk-driving "accidents," giving us a more accurate estimate of the number of actual male suicides.
The suicide rate of elderly men is also underreported Just as elderly men commit suicide directly at a rate 14.5 times that of elderly women,27 nurses note they seem to be more likely to just fail to take their medicine. But these deaths are not recorded as suicide.
When do men stop taking medicine? When there is no woman around. Because men can’t live without being served? No. Because men can’t live without being loved.
Perhaps the greatest cover-up of men’s suicides emanates from the fact that if an insurance policy is less than two years old and a spouse commits suicide, the policy will not pay28 Therefore it is likely that thousands of suicides get covered up as accidents each year. Practically speaking, since elderly men are far more likely to commit suicide, when it comes to our fathers and grandfathers committing suicide, we might not know the half of it.
When a man commits suicide, a woman Is wounded
When either sex is hurt, so are the ones they love. A friend of mine walked in on her dad hanging from a rope. There has hardly been a day of her life she has not had to deal with the consequences. Similarly, many women in my workshops have shared with me their fear that if they left their alcoholic husband, he might commit suicide. These fears are well founded, as recent studies prove.29 That dilemma traps many women.
The solution? Until we do a better job of reaching out to men to be involved in men’s groups’and other support systems, hundreds of thousands of women will feel guilty leaving husbands. Were suicide a women’s issue, would not special women’s suicide units in hospitals be federally funded? Would not every church and community group have women’s suicide support groups? Would there not be corporate seminars that were federally financed to help women who were unemployed or fired? None of
this will happen for men (and. therefore, for women) until we have the same compassion for men’s powerlessness as we do for women’s.