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Reasons Why Young Men Commit Suicide

PA News, U.S.A., By John von Radowitz, Science Correspondent, September 28, 2003

Broken marriages, living a single life and lack of income are the three factors chiefly to blame for a surge in suicides among young men, a new study has shown.

Suicide rates in England and Wales have doubled for men under 45 since 1950, but declined among women and older age groups of both sexes.

Researchers trying to discover why found that between 1950 and 1998 there were worsening trends for many suicide risk factors.

These included marital break up, birth and marriage declines, unemployment and substance abuse.

But those most associated with young men aged 25 to 34 were divorce, fewer marriages, and increases in income inequality.

The scientists, led by David Gunnell from the University of Bristol, said these changes appeared to have had little impact on the suicide rate of young women.

They wrote in the specialist journal Social Science and Medicine: “This may be because the drugs commonly used in overdose – their favoured method of suicide – have become less toxic, or because they are less affected by the factors underlying the rise in male suicide.”

In older people, falling suicide rate was associated with increased national income, the size of the female workforce, marriage, and the prescribing of antidepressants.

The researchers looked at a wide range of social trend data and statistics from Government and other sources.

They concluded: “The causes of suicide are complex and multifactorial.