The Office for National Statistics has released data showing that the group with the fastest growing rate of suicide is men aged between 45 and 54.
Charities and mental health experts believe the significant rise in suicides among older men is likely to be a result of the country’s recession.
Jane Powell, chief executive of mental health charity Calm, said: “If you are middle-aged just now and your job and life prospects are diminishing then this is tough.”
Statistics from England and Wales in 2010 show that 75% of people who take their own lives are men. Female suicide rates remain at a comparatively low level and young male suicide levels have dropped by 30%, leading Powell to the conclusion that older men in particular are feeling the effects of the recession.
She explains that men tend to feel more ‘defined’ by their work than women. Men feel more of a responsibility to be in control, to support their families and to fulfill their ‘male role’ as providers, whereas women are more likely to find their fulfillment and self-worth elsewhere.
Research shows that although women and men are equally likely to feel suicidal, the significant difference in suicide rates suggests that men may be less able to deal with these feelings.
Powell believes men are less tuned into their feelings and therefore less able to identify exactly what their problem is. Instead they feel anger, confusion and the overwhelming feeling that everything is spiralling irreparably out of control.
In this situation, the chances of finding a way out can feel very slim.
The Department of Health has called upon experts in healthcare, criminal justice and transport to compile a brand new suicide prevention strategy to save lives in the UK.
The plans are due for release in September 2012.
It is important to know that support is available should you need it. Whether you are looking for debt counselling, career counselling, relationship counselling or any other kind of psychological support, you can find lots of useful information in our Types of Distress section.
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