The clock is ticking on male suicide…

Editor’s note: This article is also available in Portuguese.

The most recent data from the World Health Organization1 reveals that an estimated 804 000 suicide deaths occurred worldwide in 2012, representing an annual global suicide rate of 11.4 per 100 000 population. However, since suicide is a sensitive issue, and even illegal in some countries, it is likely under-reported and, in countries with good vital registration data, suicide may often be misclassified as an accident or another cause of death. Due to these factors, death by suicide is likely closer to 1.2 million cases annually.2

As most readers here will know, men are vastly overrepresented in this sombre data.

As most readers will also know, the establishment is doing its darnedest to omit the prevalence of male suicide from its rhetoric, as Steve Brulé described so well in his 2013 article about male suicide reporting in the media. Here’s an excerpt from his article describing the sins of omission:

If suicide is to be addressed effectively, it needs to be understood. That means openly talking about victim demographics; who they are and why they commit suicide, for starters. And yet even on World Suicide Prevention Day, the media chose to be evasive about the truth.The CTV news piece about World Suicide Prevention Day mentioned the many suicide cohorts, the complexities of suicide, that individuals have differing motives, that differences occur within each age group. In fact they went to considerable trouble to touch on these complexities.

But the CTV commentators avoided the single biggest and most significant statistic surrounding suicide: Male victims outnumber female victims 4 to 1. Almost everyone knows this fact, and this statistic only represents the confirmed deaths by suicide. The true number of male suicides is likely much higher: men drink themselves to death, essentially self-medicating to avoid intolerable emotional pain, and men engage in extremely risky behavior, often leading to premature “accidental” death as a form of distraction from the reality of their lives.

Most of the website posts that I found about World Suicide Prevention Day also deliberately avoided the fact that suicide disproportionately affects males, for example here, and on Wikipedia. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health goes so far as to mention Teens, Soldiers, and Aboriginal Communities as having disproportionately high rates of suicide. But no mention of Males as a cohort group.

Not even Suicide Prevention Canada mentions the extraordinary fact that suicide is completed mostly by males, even though the statistical significance of the male suicide rate is so great that “being male” should be added to the list of risk factors for suicide.

But the opposite is happening. This truth is being minimized or even ignored, as if the male cohort is really not important. And that’s the crux of the matter. It isn’t important because, as courageous researchers like Warren Farrell and Michael Gilbert have shown, males are considered disposable in our culture.

It’s not that the suicide researchers are shy to point out special victim cohorts. The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) lists several special interest groups and task forces including Suicidal Behaviour in Adolescents, Suicide and the Workplace, Suicide and the Media, Suicide in Older People, Suicide in Prisons. They simply refuse to consider “Suicide in Males” as a cohort; the single largest and statistically significant cohort within this entire topic. In fact I could not find any mention of the gender-disproportionate nature of suicide anywhere on the IASP website.

This is the 20,000 ton elephant in the room: suicide is overwhelmingly committed by males. Why is that? The media in our culture have no reservations about identifying a male cohort when identification is negative, like crime or violence, or even creating false negative images of males, like men are clumsy, insensitive, less capable parents, or even promoting the discredited assertion that perpetrators of domestic violence are almost exclusively male. But when males are the overwhelming victims, that topic suddenly becomes gender-neutral, or even reversed using some twisted assertion like when Hillary Clinton claimed that “women have always been the primary victims of war.”

The only site I found that has the courage to state the truth about male suicide up front and center was the UK government, which openly states that suicide is the leading cause of death in young men.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) leads with the neutral statement that “90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their deaths.” Dig into their website and you will read that 4 times as many males than females commit suicide but this next statistic is particularly revealing: as a race, white people have the highest incidence of suicide, higher than Native Americans by a considerable margin. At first glance this is surprising, because most people believe that Native Americans have a suicide problem. But the hard cold fact is: the cohort group with highest incidence of suicide in North America, and possibly the world, is White Males, the very same group that feminists claim are oppressing everyone else.

A Voice for Men has run many articles about suicide among males, and highlighted many of the contributing factors – not least of which is the global misandric culture that leads men to feeling their lives are worth naught.

To continue raising awareness about this issue, we have added a suicide clock to the homepage this website to highlight the global incidence of male suicide and, in the process, remind yellow journalists, academics and governments to devote more energy to the problem.

To that end here are a few working basics for the figures we have used to set the clock:

1. Gender Disparity in Suicide:

Despite the wide variability in rates, there is a consistently higher rate of suicide among men than among women, with men more often dying by suicide at a ratio of 3:1–7.5:1.3

The World Health Organization states that every 40 seconds4 a suicide occurs globally. A 2002 study found a slightly higher rate of one suicide globally every 20 seconds,5 or 180 per hour. Dividing the suicide frequency by the conservative male/female ratio of 3:1, the frequency of male suicide is approximately 135 incidents per hour or one every 26.6 seconds.

2. Rate of Suicide Increasing:

The data maintained by the WHO suggest that the global rate of suicide has increased each decade since 1950, especially for men.5

Bertolote JM, Fleischmann A.  A global perspective in the epidemiology of suicide. Suicidology. (2002)
[Table 1] A global perspective in the epidemiology of suicide. Suicidology. (2002)3

3. Trend Since 1950:

Based on the above table there have occurred a staggering 25,000,000 male suicides to-date.

Between 1950 (the start date of the suicide clock) and 2002 male suicides increased by 49 percent,5 and data-based projections suggest that the number of suicides will again increase by 50 percent between 2002 and 2030.6

While this data is not perfect, it is the best we currently have. If anyone can provide more up-to-date and comprehensive data, we welcome it and will gladly adjust the clock and update the information on this page.

We hope readers will take this clock more seriously than they take the national debt clock in the United States, and take seriously the many preventable issues highlighted by AVfM -reversible cultural issues- that contribute to male suicide..


[1] World Health Organization, Preventing suicide: A global imperative. (2014)
[2] Meier, Marshall B. Clinard, Robert F. Sociology of deviant behavior (2011)
[3] Matthew K. Nock, Guilherme Borges, Suicide and Suicidal Behavior. Epidemiol Rev. (2008)
[4] World Health Organization, Preventing suicide: A global imperative. (2014)
[5] Bertolote JM, Fleischmann A. A global perspective in the epidemiology of suicide. Suicidology. (2002)
[6] Mathers CD, Loncar D. Projections of global mortality and burden of disease from 2002 to 2030. (2006)

Feature image by Cristian V

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