Breaking Suicide Stigma – Suicide Prevention in Young Men
Currently the second leading cause of death in young people is suicide and each year, there are 900.000 suicides globally with 65.000 of these occurring in EU countries. 90% of suicide victims have been shown to have had a mental disorder. This is concerning as depression affects more than 300 million people globally. The pandemic has resulted in a large increase in mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Of great concern, is a potential increase in suicide, particularly amongst the young, who have suffered a disproportionate mental health burden. Although current evidence indicates that suicide rates have not risen during the pandemic, the resulting economic consequences of the pandemic may lead to a future increase in suicide. For instance, it was reported that suicide rates rose in two-thirds of 54 countries studied, after the 2008 recession, with a disproportionate impact on men and in countries with higher unemployment rates.
Suicide is commonly described as a ‘male phenomenon’, as men are 4 to 5 times more likely to die by suicide compared to women, in the European Union.
It is important to note that female suicide attempt is higher amongst women compared to men. This is in part explained by the fact that women are more likely to suffer from mental health conditions, particularly Major Depressive Disorder. Yet another explanation lies in that suicide intent is stronger amongst males. When considering suicide during the pandemic, it is, therefore, worthwhile addressing this topic from a male perspective. The pandemic may have created male-specific negative consequences on mental health, particularly amongst the young. For instance, lockdown measures have led to losses of team sports, male mentors, and reduced educational advancement has been shown to more adversely affect adolescent men.
This project aims to explore and raise awareness of the mental health challenges faced by young males during the pandemic and the factors behind a potential increase in suicide ideation amongst this population group.