SPOKANE, Wash. -Understanding suicide can be painful and confusing. In fact, most people who die by suicide struggle with mental health or substance abuse, both of which sometimes go undiagnosed.
But a recent and disturbing new trend among men and suicide is bringing more confusion to the equation.
According to the Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office, statistics from 2010 to 2016 show that the number of suicides is not only going up, but more young men are taking their lives, specifically in the 20 to 29-year-old age group.
In fact, 21 men between the ages of 20 and 29 took their lives in 2016 in Spokane County compared to 11 men between the ages of 60 and 69, and nine men between the ages of 30 and 39.
“Males play a more gender role of being more masculine and strong and can handle emotional issues and don't talk about their feelings and take care of their families,” said Case Manager at the Martin Hall Juvenile Detention Facility, Melody Youker. “Us women like to talk about our feelings pretty regularly whether we're happy or sad, and men have a hard time doing that.”
Youker says more women attempt suicide than men, but men are unfortunately more successful at taking their own lives.
“Men use more lethal means,” said Youker. “So that's why there are more men that die by suicide.”
Youker says men account for seven out of every 10 deaths by suicide.
Youker says the best thing people can do it talk about suicide.
“Start a conversation with them and from there ask the question ‘Are you thinking about suicide or thinking about taking your own life?” said Youker. “If you get an answer of yes make sure you can handle that answer.”
Youker says signs of suicidal thoughts or depression include changes in mood including being happy, giving things away, buying weapons, and withdrawing from activities.
Suicide risk factors include drugs or alcohol, gender identity, mental health, physical or sexual abuse, access to firearms, and physical or social isolation.
Youker says there are resources available for both people who are thinking about suicide, or people who are worried about their loved ones.