Monday, February 06, 2006

Boys and Suicide

Did you know that 86% of all adolescent suicides in the U.S.are comitted by boys? And the real problem? Nobody gives a damn. A reporter at The San Franciso Chronicle is puzzled by this apathy as well:

It occurred to me that if 86 percent of adolescent suicides were girls, there would be a national commission to find out why. There'd be front-page stories and Oprah shows and nonprofit foundations throwing money at sociologists and psychologists to study female self-destruction. My feminist sisters and I would be asking, rightly, "What's wrong with a culture that drives girls, much more than boys, to take their own lives?"

So why aren't we asking what's wrong with a culture that drives boys, much more than girls, to take their own lives? Even in academia, where you can find studies on the most obscure topics, there is little research explaining why boys are disproportionately killing themselves. The Center for Adolescence at Stanford, a nationally recognized clearinghouse on teen behavior, has no one on its long roster of experts who can speak on the topic. Neither does the American Association of Suicidology, an organization dedicated to suicide prevention since 1968.


Unfortunately, the solution for this reporter to boy's suicide is to treat them more like girls or to tie their seeking help to what they can do for women:

If fathers say openly and repeatedly that acknowledging depression and sadness is not a sign of personal weakness but of superior judgment, if they say that getting help is their obligation as men so they can be good partners and providers, then maybe we have a chance at changing the centuries of hard-wiring that makes boys and men so much more violent than women -- whether toward others or toward themselves.


I am not exactly sure of all the complex psychological reasons that boys are taking their lives more now than in the past, but I do know that without studying the reasons for the increase, we will not be on our way to finding a solution.

Update: JW Wells has similar thoughts on males and suicide.

Update II: If suicide is just about men's natural predisposition of violence towards others or themselves, as some commenters and emailers stated, why do more women than men kill themselves in China?

46 Comments:

Blogger dadvocate said...

I had seen this at JWWels blog a few days ago but hadn't had a chance to blog on it yet. Definitely a very serious problem and not being addressed very well at all.

I think the author of the article does a good job of pointing out what we would do if the suicide victims were girls. And I believe you are correct about the author's erroneous conclusion regarding solutions but at least she cares.

1:53 PM, February 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This doesn't surprise me at all. My anecdotal impression is that it's the same problem underlying the difficulties boys have academically: the culture has been feminized. Much of the traditional ways in which a boy could become a man, prove himself, the rites of passage associated with it, all accommodating boys' natural tendency to rebel and be aggressive - these things have disappeared. It's what you have written about earlier: boys are treated as defective girls. Try to make a dog into a cat and see whether the dog is happy.

2:00 PM, February 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course we don't care, silly doctor!

Because only girls have tragic self-esteem problems we care about.

The few boys that do have problems *always* react outwarldly and voilently by shooting up schools and bullying others. Those few boys we just need to hunt down and incarcerate (or mold into something harmless) until they can't hurt anyone.

2:15 PM, February 06, 2006  
Blogger Cathy said...

Boys complete suicide more often because of the methods they use.

2:19 PM, February 06, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

cathy,

Yes, boys use methods that are lethal--guns and ropes-- whereas girls take pills or cut themselves which does not lead to death in many cases. However, this does not explain the growing number of men and boys who are killing themselves while girl's rates stay stable. People say it is access to weapons but suicide is growing in countries where males do not have access to guns as well.

2:27 PM, February 06, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

Helen,

When I was in boarding school, two of my roommates tried to kill themselves (insert cynical joke here).

The school psychologist made a point of repeatedly asking me if I was suicidal.

I said no, and then joked that if she kept asking me, she would drive me to kill myself. Which was obviously not a smart thing to say because she was one of these Freudian people who thought that if you made a joke it really was your subconscious trying to express itself. All BS of course.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that it seems there are two extreme reactions here: apathy or the belief that any kid who ever makes a comment about suicide is a suicide waiting to happen.

3:00 PM, February 06, 2006  
Blogger BobH said...

Are girls who "attempt suicide" also trying to get attention and/or sympathy?

I heard of one grandfather who became disgusted with what he considered his teenage granddaughter's grandstanding. After her third "attempt", he walked up to her in front of the family, shotgun in hand, and told her that if she was really serious, she should use that. He only requested that she use it outside, so it wouldn't make a mess of the house.

The entire family was mortified (the woman that I heard the story from, supposedly this guy's daughter-in-law, refused to ever talk with him after that), but she never tried to commit suicide again.

4:05 PM, February 06, 2006  
Anonymous Heather said...

The flip side of this study would be to consider why so few girls are committing suicide. Is it primarily because they tend to use "cry-for-help" methods while boys use more violent and permanent means, as suggested by helen (and several studies on adults)?

Without statistics on how many girls try but do not "succeed" in committing suicide, it's really unclear if there's a significant gender gap. If the number of attempted suicides were compared by gender, there might be grounds for further study. Until then, let's not blame male suicides on a "feminized" culture. One could just as easily guess that teenage males are far more exposed to film and video-game violence, far more likely to have access to guns, far more likely to be social loners...I could make up any number of socially plausible hypotheses, but without data, there's no story.

4:10 PM, February 06, 2006  
Blogger Brummbar said...

"...maybe we have a chance at changing the centuries of hard-wiring that makes boys and men so much more violent than women..."

Centuries? Try millions of years.

Mandatory wise-ass comment: Maybe boys just have better aim?

4:42 PM, February 06, 2006  
Anonymous Auld Pharte said...

Personally I'd be curious about a few related data:

1. Pre-1960 versus post 1960 stats.
2. Whether there are any hard stats on failed attempts, male and female.

The article (and apparently some posters) seem to buy that for some inexplicable reason growing up is inherently more difficult now than it used to be for males, and boys need to become more "vulnerable" to offset the tendency to opt out permanently. They need to be "empowered." Utter feminist rot.

What boys need are strong male role models, you know, the type that a feminist-infected culture is so busy eradicating. Fifty years ago these models were epitomized in the cowbow movies (no question where those have gone), war movies (war is now officially evil), other examples of the tough, stand-alone iconoclasts like Bogy and Peck, and more recently Wayne and Eastwood. Guys who didn't turn into silly putty when things got tough. Guys who didn't hug guys, or cringe around strong women (and they existed in those days too).

There's a long way to go, and we are headed in the wrong direction, toward a bright and shining future where women will be women and men will be women and boys get dropped through the cracks because they just aren't important when it comes down to modern cultural priorities. Hell. Why don't we just emasculate all boy babies at birth, dress them in colorful little tutus, give them dolls and make sure they all get regular counseling and hormone treatments. That'll fix this bothersome suicide statistic.

5:09 PM, February 06, 2006  
Anonymous Teresa said...

After reading this, it makes last night's commercial during the Super Bowl even more ironic. Dove is pushing off a big campaign to boost the self esteem of girls...

As I blogged over at my own place - have we ever heard of a company pushing off a big campaign to boost the self esteem of boys? Or do boys not have self esteem issues? Seems to me they MUST or there would be no suicide issue.

Mind you - I don't think that a company can create a campaign to make anyone feel better about themselves - I just find it irritating that no one ever seems to notice the boys who need help.

5:11 PM, February 06, 2006  
Anonymous Hodge said...

As I recall, boys are score disproportionally at the high and low extremes on just about any measure you can come up with. Some of the higher suicide rate may be explained by this tendency to inhabit the extremes. In which case, we're probably dealing as much with nature as nurture.

5:30 PM, February 06, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

Auld Pharte: War has always been evil. I don't think you'd get Eisenhower or MacArthur or any other veteran to contend that it's not.

Yours is a rather ignorant statement. Have you ever seen the devastation wrought by war? Have you ever spoken with someone who stormed the beaches at Normandy?

You are confusing antipathy toward military service and the honorable nature of military service. No person who has served in the military doesn't think war is not evil, unless he suffers from the "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" psychosis.

5:35 PM, February 06, 2006  
Anonymous MS said...

Two points:
Firstly, does anyone know how closely, adjusted for population growth, the rise in male suicide tracks the rise of feminism and the feminization of schools? I have a sneaking suspicion here. Anyone else getting it?


Secondly,...
"The feminist movement helped us bla bla bla...
...Just as we enlisted fathers to empower their daughters, we need them now to empower their sons."

Some 70% of divorces are initiated by women
Women get sole custody in over 70% of divorces
Some 50% of divorced mothers admit to frustrating contact with their childrens' fathers
Huge numbers of women make false claims of sexual, physical abuse or being "in fear" as a pretext to gaining restraining orders so criminalizing almost any contact fathers have with their children
Boys watch as their mothers commit 60% of physical abuse, predominantly against them rather than their sisters, and yet their fathers get the blame. They see almost every one of their interests belittled. They see that their natural curiosity and energy - the same natural curiosity and energy that has led human beings to be the most successful species on the planet - is now considered a medical problem needing sedatives. They watch their fathers forced into what to all intents and purposes is slavery by the same court system that their civics class and Constitution tells them guarantees liberty and equality for all. And when they come home to escape all that, they tune into a female dominated media on which almost every straight adult male is portrayed as an imbecile. All this, and so, so much more and yet ...somehow ...the over 5:1 over-representation of males as suicide victims is their fathers' fault. WTF is wrong with these people? This isn't journalism, it's propaganda.

5:40 PM, February 06, 2006  
Blogger Wintermute said...

A fair-minded question you ask, in line with the newly-reported relative difficulties of boys in school. In fact, one of the most interesting things I've read this year is the report of the New Hampshire Commission on the Status of Men (or something like that).

Co-evolution of the sexes has resulted in biological differentiation (beyond the reproductive), not just learned role differentiation. Males can be helped to learn more self-awareness of the scheme of things, although that may cause more rejection of the scheme and less gung-ho acting out of it.

5:44 PM, February 06, 2006  
Blogger Grim said...

It is an unavoidable fact that the vast majority of violence of any type is committed by males between fifteen and thirty five. The rate holds in juvenile populations as well as adults: between 1980 and 1997, 93% of juvenile homicides were committed by boys instead of girls. The arrest rate for murder among boys, during the 1980s and 1990s, was 13 times that of girls.

(Source: http://www.gendercenter.org/genjuvcrime.htm)

As a consequence, the fact that 86% of suicides are committed by boys suggests to me that suicide is like any other type of violence. It's something boys and men do. Girls and women who do these things are outliers, exceptions; but it's not uncommon for males. These are the facts.

I don't see any good way around that, psychological or otherwise. I think that, rather, we ought to try to find ways to formalize violence so that it can be expressed without causing death or severe injury.

This used to be done; fistfights were once acceptable means for resolving disputes (see any old Blondie cartoon, or _The Quiet Man_). In the event that one party was rather larger than the other, there were ways of balancing the scales somewhat. Duels, in extreme cases, were legally and socially acceptable. Many times these did not lead to death, though they risked death: often they were to first blood, or one exchange of fire with innaccurate weapons, or something similar.

My sense is that we would be wiser to return to an acceptance of certain kinds of violence, in a controlled and formalized fashion that honored the exchange. Violence will continue as long as we have boys and men; as long as we don't try to turn them into girls and women with drugs. We have to make a place for them to do what comes naturally, or they will do it anyway in ways we like even less.

6:07 PM, February 06, 2006  
Blogger gs said...

"And the real problem? Nobody gives a damn." Hey, when a (heterosexual) boy kills himself, that's one less male.

If current trends continue, the aggregate of alienated males might morph into a mass movement. The result would be powerful, but it might not be nice.
********
Teresa, I also noticed the Dove ad. Your blog is actually tougher on the content than I would be. The presence of this ad in the Superbowl broadcast is a cultural indicator. Another cultural indicator is the reaction of an 'elite' group of future business leaders.

6:48 PM, February 06, 2006  
Blogger Rick Lee said...

I don't know what kind of numbers we're talking about here... but when I read the post I immediatelly wondered if any attempt has been made to filter out autoerotic asphyxiation (sp?) numbers. Somewhere a while back I read that adolescent boys often accidentally kill themselves doing this trick and then the death is almost always recorded as a suicide. Because (as crazy as it seems) it's easier for the family for the death to be from suicide than from an accident that happened during masturbation.

7:05 PM, February 06, 2006  
Anonymous Vicki said...

I have no evidence, anecdotal or otherwise--only an opinion. That simply is to agree with JW that elevating males to the level of human beings would be very helpful.

Considering all the bashing they endure, too many of them in their own homes, by the women who are supposed to be nurturers, it's a wonder more of them don't kill themselves.

In my student teaching, I had a male student who simply hated women. If I'd had his mother, I would have, too: In all my conversations with her, she commented that her son was "just like his dad," and it wasn't a compliment. She clearly could not stand either her husband or her son. A few years later, her son was dead.

7:56 PM, February 06, 2006  
Blogger dadvocate said...

I didn't have time to mention this earlier, but a nephew on my ex-wife's side committed suicide about 10 years ago. The possible causes are complex.

The family was intact but quite disfunctional, positive expression of affection was rare, an older brother had died in a hunting accident a few years earlier, some history of mental illness in the family, his girl friend had just dumped him, he under-acheived in school and in sports, his father put a lot of pressure on him to perform in sports, a sister has "attempted" suicide many times, ad infinitum. I hate to use the term but his self-esteem wasn't good but it didn't seem bad. But there was no alcohol or drug abuse and little sign of depression until a few days before he killed himself, generally a friendly, outgoing, energetic kid.

All this is anecdotal but, to me, shows the complexity of the problem. And, as DrHelen has pointed out here and in the past, the vast majority of research, etc. goes more towards female oriented items, kind of like the breast cancer vs. heart disease, or breast cancer vs. prostate cancer.

One thing I firmly believe though is that while some boys pretend to not like it, a manly hug or pat on the back from a father helps as does the same, but more feminine from the mother. One approach I use, which I read somewhere, is to tell the kid I need a hug and thus be able to give them a hug in return. While I consider my own father far from perfect, he could and would hug his kids.

In watching my kids, two boys and two girls, I see how easily the girls are given and recieve gestures of affection. Affection is directed towards the boys much less often.

I see this particularly in sports. My nine year old daughter is now playing basketball. The coaches, all male, are very supportive, full of praise, lots of head and back pats, etc. If she does something wrong she is corrected in an even tone of voice. When my son played basketball at the same age the coach, his mother's brother, screamed and yelled when things went wrong. He would scream at the team so loud in the locker room you could here him throughout the gym. When something went right it was "about time."

If you're wondering why I allowed this, I didn't. This was occuring during my custody battles and I complained in court. The coaches wife, who never attended games, actually signed an affidavit that I was interfering with her husband coaching my son in basketball. If this guy had treated girls like this he would have been in jail but with boys it was OK because they won basketball games. Most coaches weren't this bad but in every tournament there was at least one other coach that was. It is obvious that, in general, boys are treated much more harshly than girls.

9:46 PM, February 06, 2006  
Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

There's sort of a Rorshach quality to this. Because we actually don't know why, everyone trots out their favorite ready-made explanation for this and thinks that is probably the problem. A lot of the guesses might be the first places I would start investigating also, but folks, we don't know.

A few commenters at least jumped from some known statistics on possibly related subjects, such as male violence or methods of suicide, but even that seems premature.

I do this for a living, and I still don't have guesses that impress me much. Substance abuse is often present in suicidal males, but that is true of females as well.

11:16 PM, February 06, 2006  
Anonymous Auld Pharte said...

Dave,

FYI I spent 12 years in the US Navy during the Vietnam era. If you read my post a little more carefully, you'll perhaps realize that I don't personally consider war evil, the Left and MSM do. Maybe I should have been more explicit. And neither "evil" nor "good" should ever be confused with necessary.

The military has always been a tool of diplomacy, and war a final resort in the diplomatic process. There are many who deny this and would like to believe that all differences between nation states can be resolved if we just keep on talking. History, both modern and ancient, disproves this naive "theory." Diplomacy has always depended on leveraging interests. In the absence of adequate political or economic leverage, with an acute shortage of diplomatic "integrity" in the mix, and without a credible military threat, rogue states have no incentive to behave. That's why it's so stupid to "take the military option off the table." It is a critical component of the diplomatic process, which will surely fail in its absence when dealing with the Iraqs and Irans of the world.

1:14 AM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger jw said...

hodge: The high male standard deviation has been suggested as a partial cause for higher male suicde. The trouble is all the research money must go to females --for the last decade and for years more yet-- so know one really knows and it will be years before any research project starts.

grim: Your annalysis is quite insulting and degrading: Blaming males for violence is like blaming cats for fleas; there's plenty of connection and zero causation. I do not like the males are sub-human ideas that so very many people enjoy these days.

rick lee: There's no money to do the factoring.

assistant village idiot: For my part, I'll bet if the research is ever done that the researcher will find there is no one cause for the gap between males and females. The problem is too big and too complex to be causeed easily. Mind you, getting some care and concern for male life would -I'd bet- drop the male suicide rate by a statistically significant amount.

4:37 AM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger Grim said...

Dr. Helen:

Having lived for a time in China, I can offer you an explanation for the question you ask re: Chinese female suicides.

One day, while sitting at a noodle shop, I watched a man riding in a cart, which was loaded down with scrap metal. The cart was being pulled by a woman of the right age to be the man's mother -- and he was screaming at her to go faster.

This didn't seem to bother, or attract the interest of, anyone but me.

When riding on exceptionally crowded Chinese buses, I would occasionally see a pregnant woman get on board. Being a Westerner, I would rise to offer my seat -- and invariably have to fight off a whole crowd of young Chinese men, who wanted the seat instead. Indeed, they were shocked and appalled that I would insult them by giving it to a girl when they were there to take it. By rights, being male, they were entitled -- it was an affront to them and Chinese manhood to have a woman sit when there was a man standing.

I, of course, enforced my will upon the local culture in the fashion of a classic American cowboy. I carried a large, heavy walking stick for the purpose. But here I digress a bit.

The point is -- there's no mystery why Chinese girls kill themselves at a rate unheard of among other girls. I imagine we would see a similar rate among girls in certain traditional Islamic societies, if there were better statistics available. But of course, we can't be allowed to study, or even take notice of, those girls -- and so their deaths go unreported, and probably unlamented.

11:31 AM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger Nick said...

I have to wonder too about the Chinese suicide angle... because of the cultural disposition in China towards men... how many of those suicides are actually deaths involving foul play that were labeled as suicide by local authorities. Granted the numbers are so significant, that you can't label them all as such... but I have a feeling the percentage of those is probably higher in China than in other places.

11:36 AM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger Grim said...

JW:

You mistake me entirely. I do not suggest that men are subhuman. What I am proposing is an idea that was simply understood a few generations ago, but now must be considered to be more "transgressive" than any proposed by someone self-identifying by the transgressive label.

That idea is this:

Violence is not wrong.

It is, rather, natural. Like any natural thing, it can be used badly or well. We should encourage and develop good uses of it, so that there is a way of expressing the natural thing that is beneficial rather than harmful. We should have institutions and manners of expression that allow it to be fully expressed, but in a way that benefits rather than harms society.

If we do not, we will see a disproportionate number of bad uses. Indeed, if we decide that violence is somehow wrong in itself, and refuse to provide any such 'good' outlets, we shall see only bad uses.

Far from suggesting that men are subhuman, I'm suggesting that they are precisely human: the very same kind of human as Hector or Odysseus, Samson or Lancelot or Beowulf. Also the same kind as Achilles or Brutus, the modern gangsta or British thug, or the Chinese emperors.

Which kind of man a boy becomes depends heavily on how, and whether, we develop him. Suggest as a culture that he is right to despise women as weak and pointless, and you get the Chinese model; suggest that he ought to be prepared to defend the weak and uphold the helpless, and you get a knight -- or a United States Marine. Not only the worst, but the best kind of man can be made through violence.

I think that will remain true unless we alter men genetically or chemically; and I am against doing so. Indeed, as the last post indicates, I think that good things can come from carrying a big stick.

11:46 AM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Grim,

You recognize how the treatment of women and girls can lead to suicide in women in China. Is there not the same possibility that the way that men and boys are viewed and treated in our culture might play a part in their higher tendency to take their own lives--rather than just men's natural inclination towards violence?

4:37 PM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger Grim said...

Of course there is the possibility, doctor. My assertion that it isn't likely is based on the fact that 86% tracks roughly with similiar rates in other acts of violence. In addition, the rate holds for the most part across age lines (the male suicide rate spikes disproportionately after age 74; but that is for the obvious reason).

http://www.who.int/mental_health/media/usa.pdf

About 86% appears to me, for those reasons, to be the baseline figure.

Yet even if it is the baseline as such, that doesn't mean we couldn't modify it through proper action. But I don't think what we ought to be trying to modify is the rate.

It's possible to replicate China's results, for example, by making life miserable enough for women that the rate of suicides evens at fifty-fifty. Obviously, that would not be satisfying to anyone.

What we need to be looking at is the real number of suicides. It may be that, at the lowest level that is achievable as a practical matter, there is still an 86% male suicide rate. Yet it may be possible to reduce the real number, through the correct policy or social attitude. Even though we hadn't changed the rate at all, we would have achieved something great.

I realize we're on the same side here -- we wish to see fewer suicides of boys and young men. I just think it's important to recognize that the rate itself may not be telling. It may be natural. The real number is what we need to work on.

7:14 PM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

At a horseback guess, having no training in your field, I would guess that the male suicide rate might be up slightly because (1) Males feel less in control of their environment because, at least here in the West, we live in a more complicated world than was formerly the case; and, (2)allied to this, it is harder for individuals to feel they have any significance in the world they inhabit. Sort of suicide as protest.

9:51 PM, February 07, 2006  
Blogger Michael Farris said...

One of my students (double major in psych and linguistics) has done a lot of reading on the research into female suicide in China.

IIRC most Chinese women who commit suicide are in bad family situations and have mother-in-law problems (the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship is the single most problematic/potentially explosive in the Chinese family).

Also, atypically, the rate in the countryside is higher than in the cities (where new wives are liable to have some outlet). Frequently the immediate cause of suicide is a run-of-the-mill family argument (so the suicide is on the spur of the moment rather than planned in advance) and the number one method of suicide (or very high at least) is ingesting insecticide, which makes death prolonged and painful.

As for US rates, I'm inclined to believe that a combination of more effective methods and greater male tendency to violence in general are the critical factors (and the autoasphyxiation thing too).

3:58 AM, February 08, 2006  
Blogger jw said...

It seems that the "contempt for males" factor is washed away far far too easily in this discussion. I know, we live in a society which loudly demands that males are indeed "violent" and a great many other things, almost all of which are about as true as the same things which were said about blacks a century ago. There is zero difference, no difference, between today's view of the human male and thousands of other bigoted views which have bothered our species over the millenia. Bigotry is a part of the problem, there's just no way to work around it.

Look, many of you are using the "Males are violent" theory without once considering that most males are not violent! Most suicides in males are from the "not violent" sub-class of the human male. That's abundantly clear. YET< you want to use violence as a way of shrugging off these deaths. That is deeply insulting and infuriating.

It is far more likely that dehumanization is a prime factor in suicide. That would explain the Chinese female and the first world male suicides. In rural China females are less than males, workers and almost property. In the first world, males are biological cash machines, fit for nothing other than work: Whether as leader or as bullet stop the male is only a piece of machinery.

THAT, dehumanization has a far better fir than any of the things proposed.

The thing is, we don't really know. There's no money to look at male suicide: The money must go to females. There is real discrimination.

4:36 AM, February 08, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

El Jefe Maximo,

I agree that men often use suicide as a protest--that is exactly what it feels like to me when I see men who want to take their lives--they feel they have no other way out. Their life sucks and no one gives a damn. It is the solution of last resort.

JW,

I do think you are correct that many men and boys who comitt suicide are a different type than those who comitt violence. The men who kill themselves are vulnerable. There is also a contagion aspect to suicide. If we do not care about males who kill themselves, the message is--it is okay to do it. I think that if our culture changed the way we dealt with male suicide--the numbers would decrease. How very selfish of women (and men0 in this country to care so little about male suicide that funding is funneled away from finding a solution.

6:53 AM, February 08, 2006  
Blogger Philip said...

Howdy all, I wanted to enter this discussion as I have had experience and thus can give a couple of notes from the "other side". Since '90 I had been near suicide 3 times. I am a white male and as such have experienced that discrimination is against any one except the white male. As one example, I was in a group in college that provided special study possibilities. In the two pages mailed to me, there was only one to which I could have even applied and that one listed "women and minorities perferred".
Looking back on the experiences, there are two other factors that also are uniform. I have a now ex-wife whom I believed wanted money, so can concur with the comment about being a money supply. During my first two episodes, there was a thought that I was worth more to my then-wife dead than alive. I know this doesn't speak to the younger males, but I was mid twenties at the time.
I also felt frustration about lack of control in life. The image of permanently sleeping on the couch compared with the hell I was living in was quite alluring.
I, of course, can only speak to my feelings/circumstances, but hope that helps to illustrate and focus some of the other discussion noted above.

11:34 AM, February 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have heard that girls attempt suicide more, but boys are more successful based on method chosen.

5:29 PM, February 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Girls attempt suicide more often because some of them probably want attention or sympathy.

4:14 PM, April 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If suicide among males had any correlation with violence in general, boys would attempt suicide more often than girls, wouldn't they?

4:18 PM, April 26, 2006  
Anonymous Mark said...

Has anyone though boys being medicated with anti-depressants for ADHD as a potential cause of the statistics? It seems that we have decreased natural ways for boys to vent their energy (physical activity) and we relaced physical activity with medication to calm them and make them focus ... but that sometimes causes suicidal tendancies.

6:40 PM, November 29, 2006  
Blogger Metztli said...

I'm not sure about local conditions in the USA but I believe it'll be educational to consider other cultures as well. For eg, Japan has a really big suicide problem and again the men's rates are 2.5 times higher than women. Japan also has hikkikomori's people so depressed and socially uncomfortable that they don't leave their house for years. At least 80% of them are men.

Men and women may suicide for financial troubles, but that's not the question here. We're talking about adolescents, most of who, living in a rich economy, can look forward to a life without starvation at least. Whats the reason for these boys/ men to do things like this.

2 reasons:

1. Its obvious that males are more aggresive. But testosterone and human sexual selection have another effect too. Males have more ambition, greater drive for what in human terms is called 'glory'. Now if the society is poor, if survival is an issue, that drive can be channeled to just fighting for survival. But if life is safe, boring, yet for the individual there's no path to glory, or recognition in any way, it hurts males much much more than females. It makes everything meaningless.

2. Sexual selection is different for men and women. Women are judged on beauty, thus the many disorders associated with women not thinking themselves (or recognising that) they are attractive. Similarly, men are judged primarily on achievement. Thus, for a young male, knowing he cannot achieve much, comes hand in hand with looking forward to a lonely, unloved life. It also creates anger, hate and jealousy issues. This was somewhat apparent in the Virginia Tech Massacare, in Cho's video

These two reasons would sufficiently explain the disparity in numbers between boys and girls (just like very few boys have social eating disorders)

2:12 AM, November 19, 2007  
Blogger Mr. E said...

Being a 22 year old male with a history of depression and attempted suicide, I feel I should speak out a little here.

There are many reasons someone decides to commit suicide but for different groups there are often prevailing ones. Most boys who commit suicide have no girlfiend/sexual experience and are poorly ranked in the male pecking order.

Women tend to group together and all share things, for men it is all or nothing - nowhere is this more obvious than in the world of reproduction. Any woman could and does find a man of low quality if she was desperate for sex or a child. Men? Prostitution is illegal and women just do not like losers, period. My fiancee of the time dumped me for an older man with a more secure future. It is simple genetics.

I have had much counselling and plenty of meds and whilst the medication does take the edge of things and make me more placid it does not magically make things better and talking about things I already know about does not make me happy things are crap.

Frankly at time if I had lived in the USA and could have bought a gun I would be long gone. Unfortunatly suicide is always considered wrong but I ask you - do we let a dog suffer unbearable pain or do we put it down? Why do we offer animals mercy we deny out own elderly? It seems so stupid to me, christian morals are not needed in ALL areas of life. Being arrested for trying to end your own life and bounced round hospitals like MRSA is not an answer, it is a way to prolong misery. Thats why I checked myself out the goddamn crypt they call mental hospitals these days. I even had friends of 5-6 years turn on me because they were scared of me after I hurt... MYSELF. Dear god. The stupidity of it all.

I am not particulaly suicidal ATM but I do not see ANY women in my future or much success. If I felt so inclined in the future It would be my birthright to decide to end my life and nobody elses. At the end of the day I would be the one suffering and even if my death would cause pain to others they have no right to make me suffer so they can be happy.

Men commit suicide because darwin was right people.

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