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Oct 10, 2019

Suicides Stats: Men at Extreme Risk for Various Reasons

Eleanor Bennett

Statistics show that thirty-one persons in 2018 committed suicide in Belize; the majority were among the youth population and primarily men. To every female suicide death, seven men die. And to every male that attempts to commit suicide, three females have done the same. For 2018, there were three hundred and twenty suicide attempts registered in the health information system. It’s an alarming reality for the state of mental health of the youth and the Ministry of Health, in partnership with its stakeholders, is looking at ways to address this unfortunate issue. Here’s Eleanor Bennett.

 

Eleanor Bennett, Technical Administrator, Mental Health, M.O.H.

“It’s a big challenge actually. We are concerned about suicide. Actually every life that is lost by suicide, we believe is a life that could have been preserved because everybody will tell you who study suicide and mental health; this is one of the most preventable forms of death.  In Belize, we are certainly concerned about all ages; however, we are particularly concerned about people between the ages of nineteen and twenty-five, males in particular who seem to be dying much more frequently by suicide than any other age group. We do have statistics that show that adolescent girls attempt suicide quite often; as a matter of fact, the ratio between males and females who attempt is three to one. For every one male that attempt, three females attempt. However, the suicide statistics are alarming as it relates to men because our statistics are showing for 2018, for every female death by suicide, seven men die. So for us men, in particular, we consider them at extreme risk for a lot of reasons; one of them being that they don’t seek help the way women seek help. So that’s the first thing; their health seeking attitude and how we socialize our men. We teach them to be macho, to hold in their feelings, to not express and so that’s what makes a man manly. And so it is a constant challenge to get men to come in for help. And then they often times, because they don’t ask for help, they medicate themselves with alcohol which is a huge risk factor for suicide behaviour.”


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