Published on June 25, 2012 at 10:44 AM
According to Dr Pitman, “The specific risk factors for suicide that affect young men are poorly understood, with few studies having specifically examined them or the effectiveness of suicide prevention interventions in young men. The reasons for having neglected this area of research are the difficulties in designing studies large enough to assess these factors. Besides the tragic consequences of each suicide death for family and friends, the worldwide economic and social costs of suicide in this group are substantial. The cost of each young man dying by suicide in the UK has been estimated as £1.67 million in 2009 prices. Ongoing concerns about the health outcomes of young men suggest that public health agencies should focus on identifying effective local means of preventing accidental death and suicide in this group.”
Dr Pitman and colleagues highlight the importance of restricting the means by which young men attempt suicide. Such efforts have been successful in Scotland (where the withdrawal of co-proxamol was followed by a reduction in poisoning deaths among young men) and Sri Lanka (where pesticide import restrictions were followed by declines in young male suicide rates). However, as Dr Pitman points out: “Unfortunately, the methods common in high income countries (especially hanging) are also the hardest to restrict,” suggesting that encouraging young men to seek help for their problems – particularly depression and substance misuse – should be an area for statutory agencies to investigate further.
Source: The Lancet