In the last Wednesday of Men’s Health Month, we tackle suicide.
While women have twice the rate of depression and anxiety disorders as men, men complete suicide at twice the rate of women. One reason for that is men typically have access to more lethal means than women.
We sat down with Dr. Rosenblatt of University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, to try and find ways to help.
“Men are a lot less likely than women to seek help for psychiatric problems and that probably has to do with their notions of what it is to be manly. To be independent and not admit weakness” said Dr. Rosenblatt.
“The most dangerous times for suicide in the life of men is about between age 45 and 65. And then again at age 85 and up. The kinds of men that are at the highest risk for suicide tend to be older men with medical problems, men who are divorced, unemployed and have substance abuse problems. Some of the biggest risk factors. Many of these things all seem to come together in older age; people have suffered more losses, they have more health problems. “ said Dr. Rosenblatt
If you think someone you know and love may be contemplating suicide, there are a few key things Dr. Rosenblatt says you should look out for.
“They may become withdrawn, detached from their friends and family and their usual activities, may become more irritable. You may see an increase in the use of substances like alcohol and other drugs. Sometimes a very serious warning sign is that they may seem to be preparing for death. A healthy person may become preoccupied with making a will or may begin giving away their possessions. They may be talking a lot about death or researching methods of suicide on the internet” said Dr. Rosenblatt.
If any of the aforementioned things are occurring, Dr. Rosenblatt says don’t be afraid to ask the person if they are suicidal.
“It’s not true that asking them is going to make them do it or that nobody will ever tell you the truth. You should open a dialogue with that person and find out if they are having those kinds of thoughts and then strongly encourage them to seek help.” Said Dr. Rosenblatt.
Seeking help is the first step.
“There’s a lot that can be done for someone who is suicidal. I’ve taken care of thousands of suicidal people in the course of my career and almost all of them have stopped being suicidal when they have had an intervention and they are glad that they didn’t kill themselves and feel more hopeful and are able to move on with their life but treatment is the starting point there. That may include therapy, they may include medication, it may even include hospitalization if the situation is very severe. We almost always have a good outcome.” Said Dr. Rosenblatt.