Most male suicides have nothing to do with mental health problems

Summary: 60% of male suicide victims have no history of documented mental health problems, according to a new study.

Source: UCLA

Most American men who die by suicide are unaware of the history of mental health issues, according to new research by UCLA professor Mark Kaplan and colleagues.

“What’s striking about our study is the lack of a standard psychiatric suicide mark among a large number of men of all ages who die by suicide,” said Kaplan, a professor of social welfare at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.

For research, published online American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Kaplan and its authors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracked the recent U.S. suicides of men over the age of 10. They found that 60% of the victims did not have a documented mental health condition.

In addition, men with no previous mental health problems were more likely to die from firearms than those with known mental health problems, and many were found in an alcohol-based system, the researchers said.

The report highlights the main public health challenge facing suicide among men, who are much more likely than women to die of suicide and are known to have mental health illnesses. In 2019, for example, 80% of male suicide deaths in the U.S. were reported, according to the authors, and suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for men over the age of 10.

Kaplan and colleagues analyzed data from the National Violent Death Reporting System of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the last three years, from 2016 to 2018, in which more than 70,000 American men committed suicide by suicide. More than 42,000 of them were unaware of their mental health status.

The researchers then compared the characteristics of those with or without known mental health conditions throughout their lives into four age groups: adolescents (10-17 years), young adults (18-34), middle-aged adults (35-64), and older adults. adults (over 65).

Identifying the different factors that cause suicide among these groups is key to developing efforts to prevent suicide, especially outside of mental health systems, the group stressed.

Among their findings, they found that in all groups, those unfamiliar with mental health were less likely to commit suicide or have a history of suicide attempts, or both, than those with these problems.

In particular, middle-aged adults with no known mental health condition were less likely to report suicidal ideation, they said.

In addition, three of the four age groups who had committed suicide in a mental health situation — adolescents, young adults, and middle-aged men — experienced more relationship problems, discussions, or other personal crises as more serious than theirs. with previous history.

They found that 60% of the victims did not have a documented mental health condition. The image is in the public domain

Researchers stressed the importance of paying attention to these acute stressful situations as part of their efforts to prevent suicide, and the importance of working to recommend the use of alcohol, drugs and weapons in times of crisis, especially for adolescents and young adults. act impulsively.

Kaplan and colleagues said the findings highlight the potential benefits of strategies for creating protective environments to provide support in stressful transitions and improve lifelong coping and problem-solving skills.

“Suicide prevention initiatives for men may benefit from comprehensive approaches that focus on age-specific stressors reported in this study, in addition to standard psychiatric scars,” the researchers wrote.

“These findings,” Kaplan said, “could begin to change the perspective on non-mental health factors that increase the rate of suicide among men.”

See also

This shows a DNA strand

About this mental health and suicide research news

Author: Press Office
Source: UCLA
Contact: Press Office – UCLA
Image: The image is in the public domain

Original research: Open access.
Katherine A. Fowler et al. American Journal of Preventive Medicine


Lifelong suicide among men: a study of inequalities based on a well-known state of mental health


Suicide among men is a major public health challenge. In 2019, men accounted for nearly 80% of all suicide deaths in the U.S., and suicide was the eighth leading cause of death among men ≥ 10 years of age. Men who commit suicide are more likely to be mentally ill than women; therefore, it is important to identify prevention points outside of mental health systems. The aim of this study was to compare the characteristics of suicide among men of mental health and unknown health, by age group, to inform prevention.


Suicides among 4 age groups of men were analyzed at the time of the analysis (2016-2018) using data from the last 3 years of the National System for Reporting Violent Deaths at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths with and without known mental health conditions were compared in age groups. The study was conducted in August 2021.


Most of the male suicide bombers were unaware of their mental health status. More often than not, those who did not know their mental health condition were killed by a firearm, and many tested positive for alcohol. Adolescents, young adults, and middle-aged men who are unfamiliar with mental health status are more likely to experience relationship problems, discussion, and / or crisis situations than those with mental health conditions.


Acute stress often led to suicides in men who were unaware of their mental health condition, and more often took up firearms. These findings underscore the importance of relieving acute emotional stress that can result in emotionally reactive / impulsive suicides. Male-dominated suicide prevention initiatives can focus on age-specific situations in addition to standard psychiatric scars.

Leave a Comment