MALE suicide rates have soared since the credit crunch with booze, unemployment and money troubles to blame, a new study has found.
Researchers from the University of Manchester say that self-harm in middle-aged men had increased significantly since 2008.
The team investigated self-poisoning and self-injury in three cities and found that a quarter of those at A&E for self-harm injuries were aged between 40 and 59.
They found that there was an association with alcohol use, unemployment, as well as housing and financial problems.
The team showed that self-harm in middle-aged men increased by nearly 50 per cent between 2008 and 2012.
The results followed the pattern of national suicide rates in middle-aged men, though there was no equivalent increase the same age group for women, they said.
Men in midlife who harmed themselves were more likely to repeat self-harm or die in the follow up period than women, but were less likely to be under the care of mental health services.
Do your bit
Big life events, like a death in the family, divorce and redundancy can leave people feeling vulnerable and trigger mental health issues.
But we can all do our bit to help prevent deaths from suicide.
That’s why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign, to remind those in the grips of mental illness that there is hope and to encourage people to watch out for the warning signs a loved one could be in trouble.
Dr Caroline Clements, lead author of the paper, said: “This is the first really detailed study of self-harm in people in midlife involving nearly 25,000 presentations to hospital.
“There were striking increases in the rate of self-harm in men which may well have been related to economic as well as clinical factors.”
The key signs your loved one is at risk of suicide
There are several warning signs that a person is at risk of suicide. But it’s vital to know that they won’t always be obvious.
While some people are quite visibly in pain and become withdrawn and depressed, others may continue their life as normal pretending everything is fine.
Look out for subtle personality changes in friends and family, especially if you know they have been going through a tough time, Lorna told The Sun Online.
These are the key signs to watch out for:
- A change in routine, such as sleeping or eating less than normal
- Struggling to sleep, lacking energy or appearing particularly tired
- Drinking, smoking or using drugs more than usual
- Finding it hard to cope with everyday things
- Not wanting to do things they usually enjoy
- Becoming withdrawn from friends and family – not wanting to talk or be with people
- Appearing more tearful
- Appearing restless, agitated, nervous, irritable
- Putting themselves down in a serious or jokey way, for example ‘Oh, no one loves me’, or ‘I’m a waste of space’
- Losing interest in their appearance, not liking or taking care of themselves or feeling they don’t matter
Prof Nav Kapur, the senior author of the paper said: “Men in midlife are a group we are particularly worried about because of their high rate of suicide.
“This study shows how important self-harm is too. It’s the main risk factor for suicide but crucially it’s an opportunity to intervene.
“Our research highlights the potential importance of economic factors, so providing advice for unemployment, housing, and financial problems is likely to be helpful.
“But improving access to services and tackling alcohol misuse could have a big impact too.
“Some men, though, might be reluctant to seek help for their problems and there are a number of initiatives around the country trying to reach men through sporting or other awareness raising campaigns.”
In England, the highest suicide rates are in men and women aged 40 to 59 years, with rates in men increasing to a peak of 25 suicide deaths per 100,000 population in 2013.
Similar patterns were found internationally.
- If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans (free) on 116 123