Dying in Silence

Originally, I was going to write this article about purely about suicide, the issue of male suicide has bothered me a lot because one rarely sees any advertising targetted towards male suicides and if one find an article about it, it usually follows the pattern of, “poor woman/girl needs help,” and “stupid man won’t admit he has a problem.”

While researching this article I found that only one country, in the 89 that record separatistics for men and women’s suicides, had a higher female suicide rate than male suicide rate. This country, France, though also had the largest difference of life expectancy between men and women making me suspect the veracity of the figures. Combining the ratios and averaging them out reveals that 3.9 men commit suicide for every woman typically around the world. Countries like Slovakia, Poland, the USA, Israel and Lithuania are among the worst hit with men topping themselves like it’s in fashion.

However, despite the figures suggesting that men were topping themselves left, right and centre, in Australia the breakdown for suicide as a cause if death between men and women was surprisingly similar.  The following graph illustrates what I mean.  Note that the proportion of men and women committing suicide looks like a much smaller difference than what it does in the actual death figures which I had to find separately.

Showing mortality rates by proportions is hiding the death toll of men.*

I’m not suggesting that this little statistical trick was motivated by malicious intent, I’ve got no evidence for that. But it does at the very least indicate sloppy academic work. The point of statistics is to make what isn’t easy to see, clearer to see. These statistics actually make something even harder to see: that men are dying in silence.

Clearly, it isn’t just suicide, men are four times more likely to die in traffic accidents, in violent assaults, men die more often from cancer, heart disease and just about everything. Yet, turn on the TV, listen to the radio, walk down the street. Observe the advertisements: breast cancer awareness, women get your free HPV vaccine (HPV actually kills more men than it does women), women get a free breast exam, women talk to your doctor about your health and fitness, women get help with managing your weight etc…

Do men not suffer from obesity? Do men not live 5 years less on average than women? Do men not need exercise and healthy eating? Do men not need to be vaccinated? Even Beyond Blue, on their website, still have erroneous information about men’s mental health, “From puberty onward, women are twice as more likely to experience depression than men.”

Not true, men are at least as likely as women to suffer from depression. However, because depression was first recognised as a problem with women it took a long time to realise that men have different symptoms to women for depression. That’s what has been filling the pages of academic journals for the last 10 years.

I’ve developed this list from upliftprogram.com to illustrate some of the differences in how depression manifests differently in men and women. This list is far from ideal because it doesn’t adequately explain that many of these symptoms are actually the same thing, but we use different words to describe them between the sexes. For example, the hair one needs to split to tell the difference between compulsive behaviour and procrastination is very fine indeed, but calling women compulsive isn’t something we usually do, it suggests she doesn’t have self-control and that’s a ‘no-no’ so we say women procrastinate because it’s more empowering for women to procrastinate than to simply acknowledge they’re effectively just as vulnerable as men in lacking impulse inhibition.

Men are often dismissed as just being losers rather than people in need of help

If you read that list of symptoms of men and thought, “I know an asshole/loser like that,” congratulations, you’re part of the reason why men commit suicide at a rate several times higher than the frequency of women. We are conditioned to despise sick men. We see them as weak losers who need to be punished for their social infractions. So we further their alienation which in turn furthers their anxieties, which in turn furthers their depression which in turn pushes up the male suicide rates. But not just the suicide rates, think about how many men kill themselves on the roads compared to women. Look at that list again. Were these men just drugged losers with no brains? Or were they damaged and rejected human beings? Sadly, the ones who need love the most are often the hardest to love, it’s a lot easier to love a woman than a man in our society.

Suicide rates for men have been increasing steadily in Australia since the 1960s. The following graph comes from the Suicide Prevention Taskforce which indicates that male mental health is in desperate trouble. The drop in suicide in the 1990s comes after the introduction of Australia’s Port Arthur gun laws, the problem is probably even worse today than it was then, but that lack of successful suicides from firearms is probably hiding how bad it is. How many traffic accidents involving a single man are actually suicides?

Men’s suicide rising, women’s hasn’t changed

I don’t have enough figures, I don’t have enough data, but I’m going to make an educated guess right here that once acknowledgement of the differences in symptoms of depression amongst men and women spreads from the scientific community out to the rest of society we are going to find out that depression is far more common amongst men than it is amongst women. I think we’re also going to find it has gotten worse since feminism made it not only socially acceptable to bash men, but made it cool to do so.

Remember what I said at the beginning of this article about health programs being based on the idea of “poor woman needs help,” and “stupid man won’t admit he has a problem.” Have you ever asked yourself why they lure women into looking after themselves by using free screening and vaccines, but just tell men to sort themselves out? Why doesn’t the government just publish the facts? Why do we keep bashing men? Why can’t we simply give people the facts about health instead of jumping to conclusions that all men are wilfully ignorant about their health? I was a med student, I know a lot more about the human body than most people and I can say anecdotally that women are just as wilfully ignorant about health as men are. It’s nothing specific about men, women aren’t more emotionally intelligent than men. They’re just not suffering from anxiety nearly as much as men are, as much as they’d like to think they are. The mortality statistics are just not in favour of the “poor female” hypothesis.

From that list of symptoms, is it not true that what a lot of people are calling “typical masculinity” or “testosterone poisoning” today are the symptoms of men with depression? How does being mentally sick become ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ in a society? Why are we tolerating the abolishment of men’s dignity? Feminists of all people should know about this sort of thing, they believe this happened to them before in the past, why aren’t they pointing out to everyone what is happening to the men? The answer is simple: feminists just don’t care about men.

Feminists just don’t care about men.

Incomprehensibly, even the feminists who notice the rise in ads that bash men still complain they’re hurting women more. Women can have depression and our society will accept them for it, it’s ok for a woman not to be able to cope. However, if men get depression, they might as well just kill themselves because no one if going to take a man who can’t cope seriously, he’s a loser and an arsehole; he deserves to die. Have we not all thought this about some man from time to time? Maybe we’re the arseholes.

If we are going to deal with the problem in men’s health, physically, but especially psychologically, we need to stop the man hate. Tell women who think women’s liberation is all about bashing men to shut-up because if they bashed blacks or Jews like that we’d sue them. Tell men who bash their masculinity to get some self-respect: their kindness, tenderness and love is part of being human, not part of some mythical feminine side. We need to stop having a double standard for men, we need to learn talk to men, not yell at them and scare them into doing what we want them to do. We need to build trust between men and society. We need to treat them with respect, as equals and give them the facts: being a man is far more dangerous than being a woman. The statistics are clear, men are more than twice as likely to die before retirement than women. When are we going to accept the statistics? When are we going to accept men?

* Total deaths does not include deaths of men and women over 64 years of age as these are hard to distinguish from natural causes rather than preventable deaths.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Gender issues, Health, Medicine, People

Author:Jason Sutherland

Resist the temptation to assume that you're always right or wrong. Never succumb to thinking you're so insignificant to trust your own thoughts and feelings. Always be responsible and listen carefully to others before passing judgement. Don't trust governments bearing stolen goods.

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14 Comments on “Dying in Silence”

  1. incaunipocrit
    December 16, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    Reblogged this on Vasile Roata.

  2. December 16, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    I am a man nearly twelve years into what is undoubtedly going to be a life long battle with depression and anxiety. I can say from my experience that much of what you say here is right on point. I function very well, but I have to be very careful who knows anything about my condition. I have always worked in male dominated professions, and the ridicule I most fear actually comes from other men. Women on the whole tend to be more understanding as individuals, but in larger society it is professionally and personally dangerous for people to know anything about my struggles. I write a blog about my experience, but it is anonymous. I could never risk someone I know stumbling across it. On the other hand there are multiple blogs written by women that are not so private. They are not advertising themselves, but it is clear they have less concern with being discovered. The double standard does exist, and the statistics you present are beyond troubling.

    • December 17, 2011 at 9:30 am #

      Women don’t realize their privileged position when it comes to health. If a woman needs help she can ask for it and expect to receive it. But for men it is a difficult decision just to decide whether or not to ask for help because the chances of being told to stop whinging are very high.

      I was reading recently that just knowing other people in ones community are being treated differently to one will greatly increase ones stress levels. Feminism exploits this by telling women their health is being neglected, when it isn’t, so the result is men feeling stressed out because they can see women getting a better deal and women getting stressed out because they think men are getting a better deal. The result is we’re all stressed out, distrustful of each other and competing for resources instead of working together.

      I am filled with sorrow to learn of your situation Casey, but you are far from alone. This country is filled to the brim with men suffering from depression, once we invent the language needed to contact each other I believe things can start to improve very quickly for us all.

      • December 17, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

        I want to say I think men have done this to themselves too, it’s not squarely placed on feminism that perceptions are the way they are. In a world consisting entirely of men, the “suck it up” syndrome would be rife. If anything, it has taken observing how women deal with problems more sensitively, to make men slowly initiate the change among male-dominated societies.

        • December 17, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

          Yes, this was coming for a long time. I’m trying to get a grip on something called “cultural Marxism” but it’s such a jumbled up concept that it’s next to useless at the moment – not to mention it’s a conspiracy theorist’s dream. I’m more inclined to think it has something to do with a cultural movement towards sentimentality. We’ve all been drifting towards it, both men and women, but because sentimentality was considered a feminine trait it was probably going to surface most visibly there than anywhere else. But certainly, men have been co-conspirators in their own destruction. Every man who believes the lie that they are less emotionally intelligent than women by the consequence of having testicles is an unwitting oppressor of his sex.

  3. December 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    Wow, man… I am speechless at the amount of revealing research you’ve poured into this. Very well written and a must read. I encourage other sites to link to this.

  4. December 20, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    Good article.

    I will leave you with four ideas.

    1) publicising stories about suicide inspires copycat suicides, or so the principle of social proof would dictate.

    2) perhaps people are being misdiagnosed with depression, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy where the diagnosis precedes depression

    3) the treatment methods used by women (free screenings) perhaps do not work on men, because the bait is incorrect. That is probably why it has not seen widespread adoption, and hence new programs such “ask your m8te r u ok?”

    4) Men don’t resolve their problems by “talking them out”, instead they brood. There is a fundamental difference between how the sexes handle their problems, and the male emphasis is to fix the problem. As the symptoms are different, it stands to reason that the fix will be different as well.

    • January 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

      Thanks Richard,

      Some responses to your points:

      1) If you’ve ever studied German literature you would have come across a book called “The Sorrows of Young Werther” which was about a man so infatuated with a woman, who really didn’t give a toss about him, that he committed suicide over her. The book was a sensation at the time because it tapped into something many men experienced. However, a wave of suicides swept Germany as German men took inspiration from Werther’s example and committed suicide. This worried a lot of people and so the book was suppressed in many places for a long time. However, the book didn’t cause people to commit suicide and to suggest as much is deeply condescending towards human nature. The book merely gave desperate people with no control over their lives an idea on how to get some control: choosing to commit suicide. That really isn’t shocking when you realise when most people say “I’m desperate” they really mean they’re just worried.

      All this is irrelevant though, the people who want to kill themselves will kill themselves or they won’t we just have to let them make that decision, but the sooner we have a open public conversation about this problem, instead of hoping doing nothing will fix it, the sooner it can be resolved.

      2. That’s something I worry about to with a lot of teenagers, especially narcissitic teenage girls who have everything but still can’t be happy.

      3. That’s certainly true, I find most women are very good at making men feel attacked and defensive when trying to show concern. It’s the reverse of that female complaint of men wanting to solve women’s problems. Being told you’re a failure from a man to a man is water off a duck’s back, but being told you’re a failure from a woman to a man is damning since women mean more to men than they can ever understand.

      4. I think this is the fault of homophobia more than anything else. Men in other cultures and in times past, used to talk openly about their feelings and problems to each in exactly the same way women do still. But since homophobia entered the mix male intimacy has been destroyed. Men see women as the only people they can have intimate relationships, but there are just some things men have to learn from other men.

  5. Klein
    November 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    guys, it’s time to fight back


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