Suicide and Male Workers: Men Commit Four of Every Five Suicides, Frequently in the Context of a Business or Work Failure. EA Professionals Are in an Ideal Position to Assess for Suicide Risk

By Jacobs, Douglas G. | The Journal of Employee Assistance, April 2003 | Go to article overview

Suicide and Male Workers: Men Commit Four of Every Five Suicides, Frequently in the Context of a Business or Work Failure. EA Professionals Are in an Ideal Position to Assess for Suicide Risk


Jacobs, Douglas G., The Journal of Employee Assistance


In May 2001, the Office of the Surgeon General of the United States launched an initiative to promote awareness of suicide as a public health problem and encourage the development of suicide prevention programs. Although the suicide rate in the United States declined in the decade leading up to the release of the initiative, suicide is still the 11th-leading cause of death in the United States. More Americans kill themselves each year than are killed by other people.

The overall suicide rate in the United States is about 11 per 100,000. But that figure obscures a startling discrepancy, which is that suicide is primarily a male problem. In women, the suicide rate is between 5 and 7 per 100,000; for men, it's between 18 and 20. Men commit four of every five suicides, although 75 percent of suicide attempts are made by women. If you look at the demographics of suicide fatalities in men, the suicide rate is about the same from age 15 up to the age of 50, rises slightly from age 50 to 60, then increases dramatically after that.

What can we make of these statistics? Unfortunately, our understanding of gender distinctions related to suicide is minimal. We do know, however, that whereas women tend to commit (or attempt) suicide in the context of an interpersonal failure, men tend to commit suicide in relation to a business or work failure. The risk of male suicide seems to be greater if there's a fall in status or position; it doesn't appear to be related to one's status within the work organization or one's income bracket.

This information has obvious implications for the workplace. Men in the workplace are primarily between the ages of 20 and 60, and at those ages the suicide rate for males is between 20 and 25 per 100,000. Employee assistance professionals who work with men who are being displaced or demoted should consider them at elevated risk of suicide, though not necessarily "at risk."

NUMBER-ONE CONTRIBUTOR

How can you determine which employees (if any) are at risk for suicide? The bottom line is that more than 90 percent of people who attempt or commit suicide will have one of three mental health disorders: depression, alcoholism, or schizophrenia. Another 5 percent will have personality disorders. More than 7 in 10 persons who commit suicide have at least two disorders, either a combination of depression and alcoholism or depression and personality disorders.

Depression is the number-one contributor to suicide; that is, if we look at 100 suicides, anywhere between 60 and 70 percent of them would have been diagnosed with depression. However, the vast majority of people who suffer a depressive episode in a given year do not attempt suicide. This points up one of the biggest problems in preventing suicide--we don't have a tool that can accurately predict whether someone is likely to try to take his or her own life. Screening awareness programs are really the state of the art in this area.

Although women are twice as likely to have depression as men, they are also twice as likely to seek treatment. Overall, people with depression tend to commit suicide early during the course of their illness--sometimes during the first or second episode--whereas people with alcoholism tend to commit suicide later in the course of their illness. What this means is that if someone in your organization has alcoholism, s/he may stay sober for 10 years, but if this person's job becomes threatened, relapse may occur and the risk of suicide can increase.

One of the things you'll notice about many people who are depressed is that they also have symptoms of anxiety. In fact, it is estimated that about 70 percent of people with depression have anxiety symptoms. This is relevant in part because one of the mainstreams of treatment today is antidepressant medications in combination with psychotherapy There's a growing belief that we tend to underuse anti-anxiety agents in the initial phase of depression treatment. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Suicide and Male Workers: Men Commit Four of Every Five Suicides, Frequently in the Context of a Business or Work Failure. EA Professionals Are in an Ideal Position to Assess for Suicide Risk
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.