Psychotherapy Support for Suicidal Older Men

Need for Psychotherapy and Counselling Support as Evidence Shows the Increase in Suicide of Older Men

The Office for National Statistics has released data showing that the number of suicides amongst men aged over 55 has risen by 12% over the past decade, whilst suicides by men aged under 34 dropped by 30%. These statistcs are supported by the mental health charity, Calm who claim that men aged 45-54 are the most likely to consider taking their own life.

Jane Powell, the Chief Executive of Calm, also points out that there is a large difference between the number of men who take their life compared with the number of women, the higher number being men. Official Statistics show that 4,517 people in England and Wales killed themselves in 2010, of whom 75% were men.

She speculates, “If you are middle-aged just now and your job and life prospects are diminishing then this is tough. There is work to show that the impact of unemployment hits men harder, and later on in life; that it’s easier for women whose lives are not necessarily defined by work and for whom part-time or temporary work isn’t by definition bad. Our research shows that thinking about suicide is more common than we realise, and that men and women are almost equally liable to feel suicidal. What is significant is that more men actually go on to take their lives.”

Two possible reasons for this could be, “First, because men are by default supposed to be in control, in charge at all times and so therefore needing help is by definition unmanly. And second because all too often men don’t recognise what the problem is, they’ll feel out of control, angry with everything, find that their life is out of focus, not be interested in what’s happening around them, and they won’t recognise that they are depressed.¬†And because as a man they’re supposed to be invulnerable, then suddenly the options they have of getting out of their situation start to look very slim.”

Further statistics in a YouGov survey concerned with adults who have considered suicide illustrate the importance of relationship status. The number of children in a household was also a factor, with 18% of men with one child expressing suicidal thoughts, compared with 27% with three or more children.

Catherine Johnstone, chief executive of Samaritans, said: “There is strong evidence to show that interventions to support people at risk of suicide make a difference”.

Depression and subsequent suicidal thoughts are not uncommon. Recognising these thoughts and feelings and seeking help are important steps to intervene in a possible downward spiral. The professional psychotherapists at The Cavendish Psychotherapy Practice on London’s Harley Street are experienced in working with clients struggling with painful and frightening thoughts and will work with you to understand what lies behind them and help you bear what seems unbearable.