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Male Suicide Awareness and Prevention


In 2020 alone, more than 1 million people in the United States attempted suicide. And the rate of male suicide is alarmingly high — more than 70% of those who died by suicide in 2020 were men.

The Movember Foundation is looking to change these statistics. Each year, no-shave November is an opportunity to initiate much-needed conversations about men’s mental health and wellness.

Suicide is complex; we can’t understand all the factors that lead to someone taking their own life. But we do know that increasing awareness around mental health, building strong social support and normalizing emotions can help.

Signs of depression in men

Most of us have heard the stereotype: men are “out of touch” with their feelings and uninterested in talking about them. Unfortunately, many boys who repeatedly hear this stereotype grow into men who see emotional distress as a sign of weakness. It’s difficult to overturn this narrative, but it is crucial for suicide prevention.

Depression affects a large number of men, but men are far less likely to seek treatment for depression than women. Some of this could come down to a lack of recognition.

While most people think of depression as feeling sad, hopeless or lethargic, it may cause different symptoms in men. In fact, many men experience depression as aggression or anger.

It’s important to understand that depression can affect anyone, and the symptoms can vary greatly. Depression symptoms in men may also include:

  • Changes in eating habits
  • Desire to engage in high-risk activities
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches or digestive issues
  • Loss of interest in family, hobbies or work
  • Problems with libido or sexual performance
  • Withdrawal from loved ones

What are the other risk factors for suicide?

Depression is a significant risk factor for suicide, as are other mental health disorders. But mental health disorders aren’t the only risk factors for suicide. Men are also more likely to experience suicide ideation or attempt suicide if they have:

  • Chronic pain
  • Family history of suicide or mental health disorders
  • Guns or firearms in the home
  • History of abuse
  • History of prison or jail time
  • Substance use disorder

Men often hesitate to reach out to their loved ones about suicide ideation or mental health challenges. If you know someone who has signs of depression or suicidal risk factors, you may open the conversation for them. If you have experienced depression before, it can be helpful to share your own story. Or it may be most helpful just to be a listening ear.

What can men do?

If you struggle with depression or suicidal ideation, you may ask your healthcare provider or a mental health professional about support groups or other community resources. Some research has shown that specific strategies can help prevent men from attempting suicide, including:

  • Connecting with others who have had similar experiences
  • Learning emotional regulation techniques, such as mindfulness or positive self-talk
  • Receiving support from trusted and respected loved ones
  • Reframing asking for help and expression emotion as signs of strength

Although feelings of depression and suicidal ideation can be isolating, it’s important to know you’re not alone. Thousands of men struggle with their mental health and talking about it is often the first step to healing.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis or suicide ideation, reach out to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by texting or dialing 988. You can also use the chat services at or text NAMI to 741741.