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October 29, 2012
Men aged between 30 and 50, particularly those from poorer economic backgrounds, are the demographic most likely to die by suicide in the UK, according to a new report published by The Samaritans - Men, Suicide and Society, Why Disadvantaged Men In Mid-life Die By Suicide (PDF).

With contributions from the Chartered Psychologist Professor Rory O'Connor and doctoral psychology student Olivia Kirtley (both at Stirling Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory), the Samaritans' report argues that middle-aged men from working-class backgrounds are at particular risk in part because of a range of sociocultural factors, including their beliefs about masculinity, the loss of traditionally male industries, and a lack of social support, especially after relationship break-up. Statistics show that about 3000 middle-aged men on average take their own lives each year, with men from poorer backgrounds at 10 times the risk compared with men from more affluent backgrounds.

Among the report's recommendations is the need for prevention strategies to take account of men's views of what it means to be 'a man'. 'Men compare themselves against a masculine "gold standard" which prizes power, control and invincibility. When men believe they are not meeting this standard, they feel a sense of shame and defeat,' the report says.

In related news, the UK government launched its new suicide-prevention strategy for England in September, backed by the Samaritans, with up to £1.5 million being made available for new research (research applications are invited). The strategy identifies six key areas for action, including more support for vulnerable groups, and more advice and support for those left bereaved by suicide.

Christian Jarrett

Edited: 29/10/2012 at 02:30 PM by jonsut

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    Posted By: Jon Sutton @ 29/10/2012 01:49 PM     News from the Psychologist  

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