The Midlife Male is Desperately Unhappy – but why?

Suicide statistics for men fluctuate over time in developed nations, but one alarming trend, as observed by Office of National Statistics (ONS), is the increase in suicides rates for men in the 45-74 age range. 2010 showed the highest rate to date at 17.7 per 100,000. Sadly, the trend has continued to rise during 2012 and looks set to persist throughout 2013 and beyond, with the 45 to 54 age group particularly vulnerable

Visit the Good Men Project for further reading on this study on American men, and here for UK males. The pattern is comparable, and reflects other nations similarly.

Suicide at MidlifePossible Reasons why Men of Middle age, and older, are taking their own Life

The suicide rate in mature men first started to increase in 2007. This is also the year when the global financial crisis kicked off, a period considered by the world’s leading economists as the worst financial crisis since the great depression of the 1930’s.

This global economic downturn is not likely to be the sole cause, but it will certainly be a large part of a bigger problem.

Other reasons may include:

  • Future uncertainty on employment and financial matters.
  • Midlife transition, to include the male midlife crisis and man-o-pause, aka Andropause.
  • An ever increasing pressure to succeed and provide for the family.
  • The fear of being alone and lonely after a split.
  • Alcohol and pharmaceutical drug dependence.
  • Incurable and insufferable illness.
  • A change in gender roles contributing to an identity crisis’ of sorts.

Then there’s the Weekend Dad

There’s a huge increase in the numbers of ‘weekend dads’ too. With previous generations, families tended to stay together and work things out come hell or high water. Many men are devastated when they become estranged from their growing children, and find it tougher than most would admit to being a part-time father.

Middle-age – Once the Happiest Time in a Man’s Life

The middle years were once considered the happiest time in a man’s life.

He usually got to where he was going by around 50ish, or at least had some idea of where he was heading. The kids had either grown up or were growing up fast, and his financial house was in order. Many were enjoying, or looking forward to grandfatherhood.

Why there is so much unhappiness amongst maturing men is a question that needs to be addressed, but right here, right now, the most important thing is to let them know they are not alone and that there is help out there for those who want to reach out.

Finding Help when you need it

Although researchers have not been able to pinpoint a single root cause to the problem of male middle aged suicides, they are working with the various organizations on developing better suicide prevention awareness through easy access to help and support resources.

International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) is one such global organization that is there to assist those in need.

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Summary

Men who have gone from living at home with parents straight into residing with a spouse (with no independent living in between), are the ones that cope less well if they ever find themselves living alone for the first time in their lives.

Not only are these guys more prone to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and addiction, but due to their inexperience of housekeeping, it’s not that uncommon to hear about such men dying in a residential blaze. Loneliness has many sides to it, and none of them are pretty!

Further Reading:

Researchers found that Middle-Aged Misery is Global

Data was collected from a 2007 study of 2,000,000 people, from 80 nations around the globe. The results were startling. There was a consistent pattern in depression and levels of unhappiness among the participants. Men’s misery peaked around 50, some 10 years later than women.

Read:Is Well-being U-Shaped over the Life Cycle?‘ compiled by researchers from the University of Warwick and Dartmouth College in the US.

About Andy Aitch

Musician, writer, netentrepreneur and founder of 50ish.org, the site created for uniting middle-aged men the world over.

Motto: a man is not old until his dreams become his regrets

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Readers Comments

    Tim says:

    The most vulnerable group are those poor blokes that are, for whatever reason(s), alone and lonely in middle age. Adding to this vulnerability are those men that are uneducated and or unskilled. All those things that didn’t seem such issues at a younger age can really come out and torment guys as they become older.

    The Samaritans, and organisations like them, are a great help for those guys with suicidal tendencies, but there are many more that live in misery, fear, and uncertainty for many years in the lead up to such dark thoughts. It is these preceding years where a lot of men could really use some help and support of some kind, as a way of preventing this trend of bleak suicide statistics from rising still further.

    Recession obviously plays a part in all of this, but it is only a part. The world in which we live generally tends to be quite hostile towards middle-aged men in the twenty-first century, for a whole variety of reasons. Tim



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