Masculinity Contributes to the High Suicide Rate of Men Today
According to the figures from the Office for National Statistics, 76% of the 6,109 suicides in the UK are male in 2014 and the ratio of male to female suicide has risen steadily over the past 30 years. This phenomenon is a global case not unique to the UK. In the US, approximately 80% of the people committing suicide each year are men.
This disproportioned figure triggered the interest from many scholars and institutions. Some researches show that the major key motivators driving people to suicide include “a sense of not belonging, of being alone” and “a sense of not contributing, of being a burden.”
Generations of education to men taught them not to cry from a very tender age and are forced to be away from their moms’ warm hugs every time they are desperately in need of love and care. All these dominant notions of masculinity, internalized by men after they grow up let them keep silent and lick their own wounds alone without disclosing or discussing to others when facing adversity. In contrast, the research also shows that “Women are, in general, more prepared to seek help and show their distress. A female attempt is often closer to a cry for help, hoping for a response.” When women express their sadness and stress, they are actually seeking condolence and usually get relief after crying with friends. Close social ties and emotional support are important contributors to healthy mentality.
“Most men today don’t have a life.” That is the first line the psychologist Steve Biddulph wrote Manhood. Men, as husband and father of a group of children, are always deemed as the financial supporter of the whole family. A British dad told the newspaper Telegraph in this way, “As years went by, and more children arrived, I found it harder to switch into home mode in evenings and weekends. Home mode took a while to get used to and by the time I was getting adjusted it was time to go back to work.” Disconnection with family and friends also worsen the situation by making men have nobody to turn to when they face stress.
The society also contributes to the high stress of men by calculating their value of being a human being on the basis of their financial worth. These social norms lead men to think that “being successful is not everything, it’s the only thing” and result in their huge amount of stress. This then can explain why the suicide rate is much higher in men at a lower socioeconomic status than in rich men. Study found that “men in lower socioeconomic groups have less access to jobs that allow for the expression of working-class masculinity, and have thus lost a source of masculine identity and ‘pride.’”