Suicide attempts, however, are more common among females.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), in 2018, more than 48,000 people in the United States died by suicide, and there were an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts. The AFSP also note that men were 3.56 times more likely to die by suicide than women that year.
Suicide is preventable. With treatment and lifestyle changes, people can begin to feel better. They can learn to manage their symptoms and find joy in life again.
Individuals who are at immediate risk of suicide or serious self-harm should seek help urgently by calling 911 or their local emergency number.
In this article, we discuss male suicide in more detail. We list possible causes and risk factors and explain what to do if someone is at risk of suicide.
There are many possible causes of suicide. Often, a combination of factors plays a role in the onset of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Typically, people who think about or attempt suicide do so because they feel as though they can no longer cope with life. They may feel hopeless, helpless, worthless, or lonely, and they might believe that suicide is their only option.
These feelings may arise as a result of many situations, including:
- military service
- the breakdown of a relationship
- financial or legal issues
According to one study, other causes and triggers for suicidal thoughts and attempts may include:
- physical discomfort
- conflict with family or friends
- the illness or death of a family member
Among males, specifically, one study indicates that significant triggers include:
- being single
One of the most significant risk factors for suicide is being male. Studies suggest that females tend to attempt suicide more often than males but that males die by suicide more frequently than females.
Researchers have suggested that this may be because males tend to use more lethal methods, such as firearms.
Research indicates that suicide also has associated genetic risk factors.
Other risk factors for suicide include:
- a personal history of suicide attempts
- a history of experiencing physical or sexual abuse
- having a mental health disorder, such as depression or bipolar disorder
- having a medical condition, such as chronic pain or terminal illness, that increases the risk of depression
- alcohol and drug misuse or abuse
- having suicidal thoughts and access to means of suicide, such as firearms or medication
- being gay, bisexual, or transgender and experiencing discrimination or not receiving support from others
- a family history of mental illness, suicide, or substance abuse
- the initial use of some antidepressant medications, especially among children and adolescents, although antidepressants are more likely to reduce suicidal risk in the long term
Although having a mental health disorder, such as depression, is a risk factor for suicide, not everyone who attempts suicide will have a known mental illness.
Warning signs of suicide or suicidal thoughts among males include:
- extreme mood swings
- talking about suicide, death, or dying
- an increased use of alcohol or drugs
- changes to a person’s eating or sleeping habits or other aspects of their usual routine
- changes in personality, such as severe anxiety or feelings of hopelessness
- isolating oneself from others
- engaging in risky behaviors
- acquiring a firearm or other means to die by suicide
- giving away money or belongings
- saying goodbye to people as if they will not see them again
Not everyone will show signs of suicidal thoughts. Even when they do, the signs may be subtle. They can vary significantly from person to person.