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Why Do People Commit Suicide? And Especially Men?

Updated: Mar 1, 2020

By: Logan Cohen, Professional Therapist & Online Life Coach

I have worked in Mental Health during the entire course of my Life. This is all I have ever done professionally and all I have ever wanted to do. One of the jobs I had while in graduate school in Portland, Oregon was working at my local suicide prevention hotline. This was ideal for me, as I already had exposure to acute need settings and was hungry for the clinical supervision hours that were available in house.

I cannot count how many times I have been asked, "Why do so many people commit suicide?" followed by, "And why so many Men?" The frequency of these questions have only increased as of late and while it might be a brief question, there is no simple answer.

I can say that I am not a personal fan of the phrase commit suicide, but there will be much more on that later. For now, let's use the phrase that most People are familiar with and answer this: "Why do people commit suicide? And especially Men??"

Men are currently facing a health epidemic and it’s not from heart attacks, obesity, or cancer. The CDC reports that out of the roughly 50,000 people who take their Lives every year in the United States, almost 80% of those suicides are Men.

Unfortunately as a Professional Therapist and Online Life Coach, these statistics do not surprise me anymore. Between my working on a suicide hotline in Portland, Oregon for a few years and also enjoying several clinical rotations in inpatient addition treatment, I have worked with more than my share of Men with severe mental health issues - even instances of committing suicide.

Given these thousands of hours of clinical experience with Men and suicide, I can also tell you that even though there are some very clear correlations here, the cause of suicide is not so simple for any one person. Even so, I feel a responsibility to the community as a Man/Husband/Father, as well as Professional Therapist and Life Coach, to share more information here as an attempt to intervene. This article will describe what is going on in the United States with the male suicide epidemic, why do people commit suicide - and especially why so many Men are committing suicide in the United States. Then we will discuss what we can do about it.

Research studies show that this will likely not be a trend that stops anytime soon...While Men over 60 years old are the most likely to commit suicide, adolescents have shown the most significant increase in rates of suicide over the last few years. And to boot, cases of pediatric (children's) mental health issues have shown the sharpest increase in prevalence over the last few years.

Our current generation of “Men in their prime” is also a part of this suicide epidemic...Between young Men aged 18-30, studies show that roughly 1 in 5 of them have thought about committing suicide in the last 2 weeks…the last 2 weeks!!! While all of these statistics show the prevalence of committing suicide, they also indicate that we are in the middle of an epidemic that is still expanding - not yet even seeing it’s peak of destruction.

Together these trends show that our current demographic of Children, adolescents, and young adults appear to be continuing on the same path - drifting further into mental health issues while the prognosis gets worse.

First off...let’s be clear about something - I LOVE being a Man. There are so many amazing things about Manhood that if I start to go into that are now, we will get totally side-tracked so I will refrain for now. If anything, this work that I do as an online life coach and Professional Therapist is about my profound respect for the great responsibility given to us Men to take care ourselves so that we can take care of our Loved Ones.

In fact, I can think of very few topics more important these days than making sure these sacred responsibilities can maintain their purity of intention, so without further adieu and with NO APOLOGIES on my end, let’s talk about why the male suicide epidemic is currently so out of control.

Studies show that young Men who believe in a version of Manhood as being tough and independent are TWICE AS LIKELY to have considered suicide. These are two “load bearing walls” of traditional manhood and are just a few of the AWESOME aspects of being a Man, so there must be something else going on here.

The fact that there is such a direct correlation between a personal focus on toughness and independence shows that we can definitely have “too much of a good thing”, but what is going to set off the factors of toughness and independence against each other? Well, here enters the “glue” of emotional restriction, also known as “stoicism”.

Emotional Stoicism is a term used to describe a quality of limited outward expression of personal emotional experience. All emotions are a part of this for Men except for ANGER - and maybe a bit of “happy” (but not too much or we will be called a homophobic slur). Anger tends to be allowed be it looks “tough” and besides that, Men are generally given the impression that the expression of less emotion is a sign of more toughness - and more independence - both personal qualities that Men are taught to prioritize above everything else.

As this picture comes into focus, we can see why it is hard for Men for many Men to ask for help. We are taught this is a sign of weakness and dependence, so we tend to avoid this gesture at all costs. Remember that old joke about Men avoiding the Doctor??? By the time Men do reach out for help (and if we do), Men oftentimes don’t know what to say - and especially how to talk about the experiences we are having because remember, it all feels so weak and we are ALREADY asking for help!

While many Men are struggling with Depression symptoms by the time we seek help from a healthcare provider - we just look pissed! Then (not surprisingly), many Men (whether we realize it or not) push those same People away who are actually there to help us! Once this happens - and especially if it happens more than once - things can get dangerous for Men and fast.

It might initially have been hard to imagine that many of the Men we see in our daily Lives – the Men who look the toughest, most independent, and least likely to need help or support from anyone else are actually those of us who are most likely to be thinking about suicide. While the very idea of this seems unbelievable to most of us, the Math cannot lie and I can tell you from my personal experience in clinical work with Men – I never cease to be amazed at the silence of a Man dealing with Depression, and especially a Man bent on committing suicide.

We have clearly identified that there is an existing issue of Male suicide that is not slowing down anytime soon. This health epidemic is threatening our Sons, Husbands, Fathers, and maybe even us personally. We have also connected the statistical likelihood of male suicide to more traditional cultural ideas around manhood. From here, let’s talk about what we can DO to set up the necessary conditions to interrupt the current health epidemic and keep ourselves and our Loved Ones SAFE!

The Balanced Man Plan is an online health coaching plan designed by Logan Cohen, a Professional Therapist, Life Coach, and Husband/Father with the fundamental basic needs of Men in mind. Our Plan is designed to support Men in creating Balance naturally in their own Lives, and especially in areas that target the development of resilience in the face of instability.

Our Online Life Coaching Plan is ideal for Men who know they could use more Balance in their Lives, and especially when there are barriers to seeking help from a local healthcare provider. There is always something we can do to bring Balance to our own Lives. It shouldn’t have to be that hard - and now it’s not.

My name is Logan Cohen and I am a Professional Therapist & Life Coach with over 10 years in the field of Counseling Psychology. I am a Clinical Supervisor for the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy, as well as the founder of New Leaf Counseling Group, LLC in Charlotte, NC. After spending tens of thousands of clinical hours with my own clients, starting a successful group practice, as well as a beautiful Family, I “picked my head up from the grindstone” to check in on childhood Friends & Loved Ones.

I painfully discovered that more than a few of my childhood Friends passed away at a young age from preventable health conditions and decided that as a Man, Husband, Father, and Friend, I could no longer stand by as People suffered in silence and self-destructed rather than ask for help. It doesn’t have to be like that and the holistic healing methods offered by the Balanced Man Plan is designed to help People “get unstuck” and break free from old patterns that are the barriers between Self & quality of Life.

The Balanced Man Plan is a therapeutic digital experience delivered through Self-Guided Coaching Plans created by a Male Therapist with the common barriers & strengths of Men in mind. The Balanced Man Plan has the goal of introducing a natural Balance back to Life so it is sustainable for the optimal Health & Well-Being of Self and Loved Ones - and ALL from the privacy and comfort of Home. If you have enjoyed what you see so far, check out our Self Guided Coaching Plans!

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