World Suicide Prevention Day 2022

Men and Suicide

September 10, 2022 is World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide remains a persistent and tragic problem in the United States. There are approximately 45,000 suicides each year. Nearly 80% of all U.S. suicides are men, making suicide the 8th leading cause of death for American men and boys

Research shows that men are less likely to seek help when they have persistent feelings of depression or suicidal ideation. Men are prone to suicide after major negative life events. Men in rural communities are more likely to die of a suicide attempt, often due to access to firearms. 

According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, more than half of men who die from suicide use firearms and 25% of men who die from suicide die after taking lethal doses of drugs. 

Suicide and Substance Use

In a 2021 study that reviewed of risk factors for suicide in men, researchers found that the factors that predict suicidal behavior include:

  • Alcohol and/or drug use/dependence; 
  • Being unmarried, single, divorced, or widowed
  • Having a diagnosis of depression. 

Substance use plays a significant role in suicide. According to SAMHSA, approximately 22% of deaths by suicide involved alcohol intoxication. Opiates were present in 20% of suicide deaths, marijuana in 10.2%, cocaine in 4.6%, and amphetamines in 3.4%. 

Additional research from SAMHSA reveals that a diagnosis of alcohol misuse is associated with a suicide risk that is ten times higher than in the general population. Individuals who use injectable drugs have a 14 times greater risk for suicide. 

Mental health experts believe that substance use can contribute to suicidal ideation in a number of ways. Many people who have substance use disorders also struggle with social and financial problems that can contribute to overall feelings of hopelessness. Substance use and abuse can be linked to impulsivity and propensity for high-risk behaviors, and self-harm. 

Signs of Suicidal Thoughts

There are often warning signs that a person is considering suicide. According to the CDC, warning signs can include: 

  • Talking or posting about being a burden
  • Increased isolation
  • Showing increased anxiety or hopelessness
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Increased substance use
  • Seeking access to lethal means such as firearms
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Talking or posting about wanting to die
  • Making plans for suicide

How to Help Someone at Risk for Suicide

If you are worried that someone you know is considering suicide, you can help them by talking to them directly about your concerns. If they confirm that they are thinking about suicide, there are steps you can take to keep them safe:

  • Reduce access to lethal means. 
  • Listen to what they say they need.
  • Help them connect with appropriate support. 
  • Follow up and offer continued support.

If you are unsure how to talk to someone about suicide, you can call the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline for advice and assistance. Call or text 988 to speak to a trained counselor, or use the chat function at 988lifeline.org.

Suicide Prevention

It’s helpful to be aware of the signs of suicide and knowledgeable about how to get help. Research indicates that men respond to support from people they trust and respect. Men also respond well to connecting with others who have similar experiences, such as a support group. Offering at-risk men community support and guiding them to mental health resources can help them break out of isolation and prevent self-harm. 

Individuals and community leaders can help by raising awareness of resources like the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, so people know how to get help when they need it. 

The Last Resort Can Help Men At Risk for Suicide

Last Resort Recovery offers a full range of treatment and support for men experiencing addiction, mental illness, PTSD, or grief and loss. Our staff works with each individual to create a personalized treatment. We offer residential and outpatient programming to support men as they seek a path to recovery. Contact us to learn more about our treatment programs.