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Suicide rates have skyrocketed for middle-aged white men in the US. They are now the highest statistic. [0]

It's happening already.

• Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.

• The age-adjusted suicide rate in 2017 was 14.0 per 100,000 individuals.

• In 2017, men died by suicide 3.54x more often than women.

• White males accounted for 69.67% of suicide deaths in 2017.

[0] https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/






> men died by suicide 3.54x more often than women

That's a very interesting statistic considering women attempt suicide 1.2x more than men.


Men tend to use firearms more often when attempting suicide whereas women tend to use medication more often. The latter is easier to treat and ambulances are better equipped for overdoses than gunshots.

Firearms is one possible explanation. An other is that women get treatment more than men, particularly for depression. Treatment greatly reduce the risk of completed suicide.

There is a large uncomfortable area within suicide data. In a study, about half who attempt suicide said it was a cry for help. While we can't ask those that die, we do have data that say that those people usually have both a history of suicide attempts and a lack of treatment for it. This combination has a gendered aspect.

So it can be firearms, the culture around treatment, both, or other aspects which explains why men die by suicide 3.54x more often than women while at the same time women attempt suicide 1.2x more than men.

I think the best action to reduce suicide is with the medical profession. Treatment of drug and alcohol addiction, depression, and those who have attempted suicide in the past. We can try to reduce the number of firearms and adding barriers on bridges and subway platforms, but I have my doubts that areas which implement such action actually see a reduction in completed suicides. At best it gives the health care system a bit more time to provide treatment.


Another observation made by a few clinical physiologists I watch was that men are more likely to have a higher propensity for violence, so when they attempt suicide they are more effective at it. A man is more likely to take the more violent "way-out" and by extension the more lethal approach (rope, gunshot etc.), as opposed to a woman who takes the perceived less violent approach (overdose, suffocation etc.)

Whether that is the truth, my verdict is still out, but the literature seems to point that way.


A plausible theory but it smells a bit like the idea that women care more about how they will look when they are dead so they apply suicide methods that won't deform their face.

My verdict leans heavily that suicide is always a failure in treating the underlying issue. Depending a bit on who you ask the wast majority of suicides is caused by untreated mental or emotional disorders, most commonly depression. A untreated disease which definition is the inability to feel happy and recover from feeling sad seems quite relevant in the context of suicide, and when we know there is a difference in treatment and see a difference in outcomes then that should be our first stop in our logical conclusions.


But we have data that show how people die and what sex they are, and we see that some methods are mostly preferred by men and some methods are mostly prefered by women.

Threads about suicide on HN are suboptimal because most people don't really know what they're talking about and the CDC data is fucking impossible to use (compared to data from the UK).


DanBC, no one is contesting the data in outcomes. The data show a clear difference in how women and men die from suicide.

What is discussed is the cause for it. The theory smells that men are violent thus they choose violent methods and women are vain and thus choose vain methods. It just conveniently fit our gender stereotypes perfectly which should be a rather big red flag for anyone looking at social science with a critical view.

There are several contending theories. To the degree that suicide attempts are a cry for help the difference in how society react towards men and women likely impacts the method of choice. An other theory is convenience where more women get opioids prescriptions then men, while more men are involved in activities with high gun ownership.

There are more. Gender differences in mental health, differences in alcohol consumption, and difference in social support networks are all additional suspects in explaining why we see a gender difference in outcomes and methods.

One of the data point that looks a bit odd is that even if we account of difference in method, men are about 60% more likely to still die in the attempt. As far as I know this difference is still there for methods like self-poisoning which is the most "preferred" method for women. Unless we want to go into the bucket of stereotypes again and simply state that men are more competent with suicide regardless of method it seems like we should entertain the idea of other causes for gender differences.


Just because stereotypes exist, does not invalidate them. Most exist because of a common perception, correct or not. While I agree they should be challenged, they likewise can reveal things as well.

Is that an unreasonable assertion, when society pressures women much more heavily to place importance in their physical appearance?

It reads like kitchen psychology. "Wants to leave a pretty corpse" also seems like the worst possible motive, among many. Access to firearms would be a far easier explanation. Just with in the "pretty corpse" theme, I would consider "does not want those finding her to be shocked for life" to be far more important than vanity.

Huh. Didn't know that. The firearm thing makes a lot of sense.

I left out the statistic that mentioned in 2017, firearms accounted for 50.57% of all suicide deaths. Didn't want to get misconstrued because I support the 2nd amendment and people like to use this fact as ammunition against it.

But now I would like to see a breakdown of that statistic by gender, to see how many firearm-related suicides were men vs women.


Poland has virtually no guns, yet there is 6.7:1 male to female suicide ratio.

But the same thing applies - in Poland men will be chosing more violent methods (such as hanging) while women will be chosing poisoning.

The 4th is protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. I assume you meant the 2nd.

I'm curious what the breakdown is in Japan where suicide rate is high but firearms virtually non-existant. However, I understand suicide statistics from there may be unreliable.


Government stats for Japan are here[1]. While there is a stigma around suicide here (particularly families wanting a death to be 'accidental'), I don't think it's common enough to really affect the statistics.

To quote the source: "For men, the most common method is hanging (首つり, 69.3%), followed by jumping (飛降り, 8.8%), and suffocation by burning charcoal or a similar substance (練炭等, 7.3%), and for women the most common method is hanging (59.8%), followed by jumping (14.2%) and drowning (入水, 6.3%)."

For both sexes, jumping appears to be significantly more common for children under 19 than other groups. Train jumping (飛込み) is much less common than you might think, but is common for the "age undermined" (不詳) group (men 14.3%, women 42.9%), presumably because the remains are hard to identify.

[1] https://www.mhlw.go.jp/wp/hakusyo/jisatsu/18/dl/1-6.pdf (page 30)


Thanks for providing this. It's the sort of info that's virtually impossible to find as someone who doesn't speak Japanese. (I tried and only found sources that weren't official or were overly general like WHO stats.)

These all seem like pretty awful ways to die. I don't even know how you go about drowning yourself. I'm surprised medication isn't more common.


do you happen to know how the gender gap works in Japan?

is it still the case that women try more and men die more? By what ratios?


Wow that's an embarrassing typo. Thanks for catching that.

> I understand suicide statistics from there may be unreliable.

Why is that? I know suicide rates are high there, but isn't there information to glean from it?


My guess would be social stigma.

Well there are two possible conclusions from this:

1- Women can't figure out how to effectively commit suicide and fail at the attempt at a rate that is 400% greater than men because they aren't capable - I don't believe this for a minute.

or

2- Women engage more in the cry for help attempt, while men go through with it all the way more often.

Personally I'd go with 2, but I'd be open to hearing any other alternative explanations.

The 'women do it wrong because they want to look pretty when dead' or 'women can't figure out violence' (a version of #1) seem like condescending conclusions drawn to avoid having to deal with the probability of #2, which sounds simpler.


Some people 'attempt' suicide to attract attention, compassion, whatever. Obviously, dying is not in their plans.

I read once that women tend to do it for attention; like a cry for help in ways likely to fail such as pills, wrist cuts etc.

Men to do it to end their own existence and choose things like hanging, gunshot, jumping off a bridge etc.


Are you assuming that all those suicides are linked to loneliness? What about people with money issues, incurable diseases, mental conditions, etc?

Why would I assume that 100% of suicides are linked to loneliness?

What bearing does that have on whether or not loneliness is a contributing factor to overall depression in the US?


Often life issues are linked to depression so I'd argue yes indeed.



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