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And news just in from the UK

Filed under: General — Downunder @ 7:40 am Mon 24th February 2014

Unbelievable: It has just been revealed by the Guardian newspaper that the male suicide rate is 3 1/2 times that of the female suicide rate in England.

Of course I am not suggesting that the rate of male suicide is unbelievable, it is a headline that contained not only the word


or the word


You’ve spotted it too haven’t you?

OMG! The words …

Male and Suicide

… appeared in the same headline.

I am yet to read the article; I hope this isn’t someone’s sick idea of a teaser, to head some other story.
Update: Just got to the sub headline, you won’t believe this …

Samaritans says men at greatest risk in 40-44 age bracket as Office for National Statistics reports 4,590 male suicides in 2012

No, no, I am not suggesting that you won’t believe the accuracy of the report – it’s the earth shattering concept, that we know has eluded our own media for donkey’s years – the ability to report a fact. Imagine applying this principle to child support.

This is too exciting.
Back again. You’re not going to believe this, well you can’t believe everything you read in the news, (when half of it comes from politicians) but surely this must be accurate.

The study conducted by the University of Bristol and the Samaritans has funding from the Department of Health policy research programme.

This is a health funded project – amazing.

I have got to get back to the story.
Back again.
I was just about to read on and I had a sudden thought; who wrote this article?

    Haroon Siddique

is a news reporter on the Guardian website. He previously worked for North London institution the Ham&High, and before pursuing his passion for journalism he was a commodity trader in the City

I am not sure what to make of this. On one hand he may have avoided the dogma of feminist jouranlism indoctrination – allowing him to consider being a male sympathizer – then being a commodity trader, perhaps he is a realist too.

You can trade dead meat to eat, but not dead men to work.

But back to the story – there may be more.
[picks himself off floor, rearranges chair, sits back at computer]

Wyllie said that since 2007 the overall rate had risen, “tracking the economic climate”. She said: “While we are pleased there hasn’t been an increase [from 2011], we must not be complacent.”

Someone reporting that someone gives a shit about male suicide (you can understand why I fell off my chair) but it did also have the sobering effect of shaking me back to reality.

This happened in another country, not New Zealand. Lots of things happen in other countries that don’t happen in New Zealand, but it was a grand thought, and just for a moment I had this vision of a New Zealand headline …

Male Suicide Devastating for NZ Society


  1. 3.5 to 1,

    Mmmmmmm , seriously how many good fathers gone.

    “Male Suicide Devastating for NZ Society”

    should be exactly the headline.

    I don,t want to be a number in NZ

    Comment by Dominic Dilligaf — Mon 24th February 2014 @ 10:04 am

  2. @#1 Tought times never last but…tough people do. SO just hang in there mate….!!

    Comment by kumar — Mon 24th February 2014 @ 11:44 am

  3. I agree in part with KUMAR ‘hang in there” but I would advise people not to get too tough [brittle]. Females will talk over the problems with their female friends, males tend to be individualistic. In this case I suggest that males do talk about the problems with suitable friends. Indeed this is part of the function of this web site. No man is an island, together we can do some good, as individuals we are far weaker. If your friend or friends tend to say ‘be tougher” or “be a man” don’t drop these friends but do find some other people who will take time to help sort you out. Your GP can be a help. Read John Kirwins book about depression, join his web site, note your feelings day by day. Your troubles will pass but you can live day by day. Best of luck to all those with suicidal thoughts.
    As for the original article well it is good that at least the UK is possibly thinking about a real problem, pity our government is not.
    Use this page to offload, I have but under a different name.

    Comment by andreas — Mon 24th February 2014 @ 5:11 pm

  4. Did anyone see the news on one last night and how they were subtly trying to blame Charlotte Dawsons ex for her death?

    Comment by Scott B — Tue 25th February 2014 @ 11:23 am

  5. Unfortunately we can’t expect any such accuracy about suicide in NZ media. Every article we see in NZ related to suicide appears to avoid any mention of the fact that suicide is mainly a men’s issue, and most don’t even bother to mention the gender imbalance. No NZ journalist appears to have bothered to explore what factors might be causing so many of our men to find life so worthless. Instead, in the rare case that an article discusses the gender ratio at all, it will dismiss this as a reflection only of ‘men’s greater violence and effectiveness when they do attempt suicide’. This article today follows the usual trend. At least its examples of suicides involved male cases (other articles often cite examples only of female suicides, knowing this will elicit more sympathy in readers), but it avoids any mention at all of gender ratios and it implies that one woman’s claimed thoughts of suicide are comparable to the men’s successful self-killing.

    Article highlighting again NZ media’s refusal to acknowledge the gender issue in suicide.

    Comment by Ministry of Men's Affairs — Thu 27th February 2014 @ 8:41 am

  6. Several sessions I have attended (Ministry of Health funded) dismiss the death statistics saying women attempt suicide at the same ate as men. Hence they don’t view the death rate as the important factor. Men are more successful and probably being successful saves Ministry of Health funds and thus they are incentivised to take a gender neutral view to save ongoing health expenditure.
    Dead men are cheap.

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Thu 27th February 2014 @ 9:02 am

  7. @Allan – That is simply not rational. If the number of attempted suicides (gender neutral is equal) and those numbers continue to increase, then the ongoing treatment of survivors makes women expensive – if we are talking relative the economy.

    That is not an effective health strategy because it fails to reduce cost; it is simply unimaginative gender-disproportionate distribution of health funding, which is sympathetically directed at ‘victims’ rather than contributing causes.

    It makes sense if you look at the situation as for jobs for the girls (counsellors etcetera) attempting to convince people to accept and adjust to society regardless of any or all contributing factors.

    I appreciate the comment though; it does give an insight into the way in which political thinking impacts on a society. I had I think, like many, suspected malice alone before incompetence or in this case absolute incompetence perhaps once initiated by malice.

    That’s an interesting concept, but you know, it makes a lot of sense when you look at contributing factors to a deteriorated or deteriorating society.

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 27th February 2014 @ 10:20 am

  8. I was watching the Paul henry show the other night and he mentioned an agreement the “media” as a whole had , not to talk about suicides ????
    If that’s the case no wonder little to nothing is mentioned about that ?

    I didn’t know that ?

    Comment by Dominic Dilligaf — Thu 27th February 2014 @ 10:38 am

  9. P.S thanks Kumar. 🙂

    Comment by Dominic Dilligaf — Thu 27th February 2014 @ 10:39 am

  10. 8 its true. They won’t talk about it and they say it is because they don’t want people to copy the methods! Yet they tell us all the gruesome details of murders etc.

    Comment by Scott B — Thu 27th February 2014 @ 10:42 am

  11. Much of this suicide secrecy grew out of the Grafton Bridge jumpers. (Grafton Bridge, Auckland)

    There was a time when the bridge didn’t have those high wire fences and media reporting of incidents where people sought attention by threatening to jump created a significant copy-cat effect and there were a number of deaths.

    Later than this I was driving in Auckland early one morning and passed a dead man under the bridge on the motorway. That was never reported in the news so it is possible that all that was achieved was to stop the attention seeking rather than the deaths.

    Politically suicide has been a hot potato. The Clark administration actively restricted the publication of health statistics relating to suicide numbers, for obvious reasons.

    Through a strange combination of events we seem to have taught ourselves (socially) to accept and ignore the situation.

    That works for politicians too (except when its one of their children of course) but this is another set of circumstances entirely, where teen suicide, whilst being a minority of suicides is left to the family to sort out.

    It became politically relevant because of Jim Anderton’s daughter.

    Then there is the restrictions placed on suicide by the Coroner’s Act.

    Over all it has become a very ill-managed but significant cause of death, that I am not sure the media actually know what to do with anymore, so they run away from it.

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 27th February 2014 @ 11:03 am

  12. Under the Clark administration there certainly was a lot of effort put into youth suicide.
    There were small swarms of suicides in several areas. The contagion effect is considered to be high. Where one suicide has occurred there is effort put into making sure more don’t happen. I live in a community that had this occur.
    Another at risk group identified were children in CYFS care. CYFS did a big effort watching for trends, monitoring attempts and researching precipitating factors and possible earlier signs. Not surprisingly they found if caregivers acted sooner they eliminated a lot of risk.
    That is my point about Domestic Violence, separation stress and male suicide. We know the risks these scenarios pose so why are we as a community and nation not providing support and care to men, women and children in these stress inducing circumstances.
    It is hard to avoid the conclusion that few people really care.

    #8 Health economists have some pretty weird equations you might like to ponder downunder.
    In the health sector Cardiovasular risk assessments cease at 74 years of age. I suspect it is the same for smoking brief advice. However people 75 years of age and above suffer much more serious consequences of these health indicators than those who are younger. Maybe those over 75 become less significant taxpayers? Perhaps we con’t care about the elderly? I accept we will all die of something eventually but arbitrary cutoffs like this seem weird to me.

    Today I was studying a term “Fragile elderly”. The definition of this is Maori, Pacific Islander or Indian over the age of 70 years. For other ethnicity the definition is over the age of 80 AND with 3 or more long term health conditions or 5 or more long term medications or showing signs of dementia. Tis a weird world in heath politics/epidemiology.

    Comment by Allan Harvey — Thu 27th February 2014 @ 3:55 pm

  13. Sorry, in this morning’s piece we forgot to include the link to the article highlighting again NZ media’s refusal to acknowledge the gender issue in suicide.

    Comment by Ministry of Men's Affairs — Thu 27th February 2014 @ 11:27 pm

  14. I see where you are coming from but just to make sure …

    “This is the position we want, so we need to find some justification to advance that position.”

    The justification – suicidal men are violent men, who suceed in killing themselves, where as suicidal women are desperate women, who desperately needed some help but didn’t really want to die.

    This means we can rightly ignore the 80% 20% ratio of male to female suicides, direct any funding, effort, help, change, study or media coverage to women and teenage children.

    Of course when you look at the 40-45 year age group mentioned as havivng the the highest numbers, they are on the downside of their best working years or free up senior positions for women in more academic situations, have probably already bred and are not required as a parent or a grandparent, lost their assets and savings to at least one ex, and are a potential burden to the health and retirement options provided by government.

    It’s in the best interests of a developing feminist society that we continue on this path and men should put up and shut up?

    Did I get that right?

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 28th February 2014 @ 7:56 am

  15. #7 Downunder you are discussing economics from the cost point of view only, ignoring benefits, for example value of a life and parenting work done, tax paid.

    In my opinion, the drivers for most suicide researchers are:

    1. visibility – hospital based researchers see women and pump their stomachs and talk to them and their families
    (They don’t stop to talk to the frozen men in the morgue.)
    2. stronger identification with women patients due to their own identity (very few men put any time into suicide research, you can’t feed families with unfunded research)
    3. sympathy for women as victims of societal oppression (blissfully unaware that men may be victimised by social systems too)

    If I am right, then the following responses might help the situation:

    1. encourage more men to counsel suicidal men and while at it to learn more about men’s suicide issues
    2. encourage all men to be more conscious about men victims of societal policies
    3. present men’s stories, strong and weak and show men as sometimes being victims ie be more open and honest about men’s experiences

    Slowly happening, but very slowly!

    Comment by Murray Bacon — Fri 28th February 2014 @ 9:21 am

  16. So Murray – based on the numbers of total attempts at suicide being relatively gender equal, of 100% of female attempts at suicide 80% are not successful.

    Your proposition is that this 80% of female survivors are more visible especially in the health system and are more easily helped and studied, so outcomes relating to female survivors are a natural consequence of visibility.

    If out of the same equation 20% of male survivors of attempted suicide exist are they simply ignored. They represent an insight into 4 times as many deaths, whereas the 80% of women represent an insight into 1/4 of their own numbers.

    There is two different situations here. Understanding why women attempt suicide might reduce the financial burden on the health system that treats these woman. Men simply fund the funeral industry, so is there no real benefit to the health system to find out why 20% of men do not suceed in suicide – incompetence factor perhaps.

    To look at that another way – if the health system is the central point of awareness of female suicide. What is the central point of awareness of the 80% of male suicides (those being successful).

    The police (perhaps when suicide was a criminal investigation)
    The IRD (who know when every tax number finally expires)
    The Coroners Court (who surround suicide with as much secrecy as the Family Court does with its cases)

    Is it just convenience that the agencies of discovery in relation to male suicide have been shut down as the numbers have steadily increased.

    Who is responsible for the visibility of male suicide if it is not the media?

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 28th February 2014 @ 4:37 pm

  17. Your comment is spot on (in my opinion), as an impartial observation:

    If out of the same equation 20% of male survivors of attempted suicide exist are they simply ignored. They represent an insight into 4 times as many deaths, whereas the 80% of women represent an insight into 1/4 of their own numbers.

    However, you are approaching the situation carefully and rationally, where the people making decisions about what they will actively research are making their decisions emotionally. Unless we pay particular care to consider the hard evidence, by default our decision process will almost certainly end up being just emotional (sympathy).

    The profit media are hobbled by their shortage of profit, so they cannot take any risks at all, these days.

    I suggest that we need to encourage all men to show some care for men in less fortunate circumstances. Unless the majority of men show concern in how they vote, we are never going to obtain positive movements from Government and Government resources.

    Can we get men to show some sympathy and concern for a few men as victims?

    Men’s rational suicide decisions turn most people off, big time.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Fri 28th February 2014 @ 6:34 pm

  18. If you compare the loss of life to say mining with 30 deaths in the last 5 years through the Pike River Mine explosion and the accumulative number of deaths in the Forestry Industry about the same in the last five years.

    Then we are talking, what, two and half thousand deaths in 5 years through successful male suicide.

    Were these men all unemployed and don’t matter?

    Do the ones driving a car not matter because now they are excluded from the road toll if it is obvious the accident was a suicide.

    I don’t think men being sympathetic is an answer, rather that men should understand what is happenng to their brothers and fathers and uncles and cousins who are routinely slaughtered by an act of society.

    I can’t see that the act of voting in any Western ‘civilised’ country, let alone New Zealand would actually change the male suicide rate.

    Comment by Downunder — Fri 28th February 2014 @ 7:17 pm

  19. Most people tolerate voluntary acceptance of risk (except where this puts costs onto others) and detest situations where one person’s greed decision puts risk or death onto others eg in a work situation, Pike River Coalmine is one example among many.

    Is rational suicide a voluntary acceptance of risk of dying?

    Being triggered to suicide by a combination of latent childhood risk factors and adult bullying in the name of ird-cs or familycaught$ (or ird-cs AND familycaught$) a voluntary acceptance of risk of dying?

    Not in my opinion. Do men carefully think through the risk of dying by their own hand in the months after separation, before they sign their marriage vows? Do they know the approximate level of risk of dying by their own hand, before they sign their marriage vows?

    Politicians know that men typically vote according to what they see is best for NZ, as a whole. Women typically vote alligned to their perception of who will serve women’s interests. Add that up and men’s personal interests aren’t going to get much attention. (Perceptions are often not accurate, if people don’t put in the effort to know what is going on.)

    By a cold rational economic argument, it is opportunity cost. If the stunned and asphyxiated men can be replaced during the next working day, there isn’t really a problem, (unless a widow or a parent holds a grudge and shoots the old boss who needs to be accountable).

    As far as I can see, National are deliberately underfunding Government worker protection agencies – thus economic responsibility isn’t acting to protect workers in NZ. Costs of hazards are covered by ACC, as long as you can claim in person! Profits on the other side are just taken by the employer. I don’t hear many men complaining.

    Put tax dodging by companies and rich individuals on one side and increased taxes for workers on wages……..

    I can’t see that the act of voting in any Western ‘civilised’ country, let alone New Zealand would actually change the male suicide rate.

    Voting power is what drives social policy. Equity should be a part too, but when both genders neglect to watch the balls, anything can happen and does too.

    It will only be when men stop to consider what happens to victim men and show some concern and sympathy, that they will start to target their voting power to lead to equitable protection for men. Can they look away from bouncing breasts? We are in for a long wait…

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Fri 28th February 2014 @ 8:02 pm

  20. Dear Ministry of Men’s Affairs #5, I see your point, that the NZ Herald article isn’t proportionate in its portrayal of suicide attempts and completed suicides, especially with respect to impacts by gender.

    I think however, that within the confines of a relatively short article, it gave about as good a comparison as could be given, short of using a table of data.

    That said, presenting a woman considering suicide and an example where a man completed suicide, could be argued as under-representing women’s completed suicide? It did show one huge issue – men completing suicide before anyone knew there was a problem.

    By the general standards of profit media, very good article. What we need desperately, is men being honest, taking any derision that their fellows will offer and stimulating painful discussions about our values, culture and behaviours. Many women are quietly helping silent men. We need more men to share in the work too.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Fri 28th February 2014 @ 8:22 pm

  21. This is an interesting media report.

    Traffic was backed up on Lincoln Rd to Lyttelton St while police could talk her down from the Lincoln Rd overpass.

    A police spokesman said the person was a “regular” who did this every three or four months.

    Comment by Downunder — Sat 8th March 2014 @ 5:20 pm

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