Digital painting of four men standing in front of candles

"Support our Midnight Watch Campaign"

World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is recognized every September 10th by over 60 countries around the world. 

We wanted to share some statistics with you to better understand the serious toll suicide is taking on men (and the important people in their lives), and provide you with an opportunity to help us prevent it. 

Do you know what age group has the highest rate for suicide in men?

  • 15 – 24
  • 25 – 34
  • 35 – 44
  • 45 – 54
  • 55 – 64

Bar graph showing age groups and rates of suicide in menThe answer is age 45 – 54.[1] This fact surprises a lot of people. As men move into their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s and life’s pressures mount, death by suicide increases. The devastation felt by those left behind is enormous.

  • More than 90% of people who die by suicide struggle with their mental health and/or addiction.[2]
  • Researchers estimate that up to 60% of people who die by suicide have major depression.[3][4]

Why is the rate of suicide higher for men ages 45 – 54? 

There are plenty of factors that contribute to this statistic. Unfortunately, many guys don’t think about or discuss their health enough (especially mental health), but by their late 30’s to early 50’s, their lives may be packed with stressors that, when unaddressed, can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts. 

Some of the factors that can weigh heavily on men in this age group are: 

  • Career pressures and unmet goals (work hours, dissatisfaction)
  • Financial strain (debts, bills, lack of savings for housing or retirement, pressure to spend rather than save)
  • Family life (fatherhood, tension with partner, faltering or broken relationships – including with children)
  • Loneliness (whether in a relationship or not, guys often don’t have enough people in their lives they feel open with and connected to)
  • Aging (new aches and pains, chronic conditions, and other health issues)
  • Lack of meaning (this can tie into the factors above and can weigh heavily on a man’s mind)

All of these factors and others contribute to the impact on men’s mental health. 

How can you help us prevent more men from taking their lives?

Our research shows that men search for words related to suicide most often between 9:00 pm and 4:00 am.

Searching for terms such as “suicidal thoughts”, “I want to die”, and “kill myself”.

We want to try to interrupt this thinking through a new campaign idea and opportunity for matching donations.

Scene – nighttime, guy slouched on couch, phone in hand, TV playing in background]

Clint promised his partner he would be coming to bed in 15 minutes. “I just want to chill in front of the TV, have a quick beer, check the hockey scores, and I’ll be right there.”  

90 minutes have passed, it’s now 12:35 am. Clint is on his third beer and has lit up a joint. Nighttime is the worst for Clint – he feels a sense of anxiety, fear, and hopelessness taking over again. The beer and the pot temporarily numb the immense weight of everything. He looks at his phone and types into the search bar “I want to die”. 

This is the third night in a row he has searched about taking his life. 

[end scene]

Clint’s story is not unique. Unfortunately, it is far too common.

We need to reach men before they reach the end of hope.

We are raising $10,000 to purchase commercial TV spots that will air between 9:00 pm and 4:00 am to let men know that help is out there.

This way, when guys are sitting alone at night, feeling hopeless, and thinking about ending it – we can interrupt their thinking with our HeadsUpGuys PSA. We can get them thinking there is a better way, directing them to our resource to help them on their journey to recovery.

We’re able to do this through a generous media partner offer, allowing us to double the reach of donations, with a buy 1, get 1 free deal. 

Man holds head while talking to friend

Learn more about and support our Midnight Watch Campaign, through our secure UBC Crowdfundraising page.


References:

  1. Statistics Canada. (2022). Leading causes of death, total population, by age group, Table 13-10-0394-01. https://doi.org/10.25318/1310039401-eng
  2. Mościcki, E. K. (2001). Epidemiology of completed and attempted suicide: toward a framework for prevention. Clinical Neuroscience Research1(5), 310–323. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1566-2772(01)00032-9
  3. Cavanagh, J. T., Carson, A. J., Sharpe, M., & Lawrie, S. M. (2003). Psychological autopsy studies of suicide: a systematic review. Psychological medicine33(3), 395–405. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0033291702006943
  4. Lesage, A. D., Boyer, R., Grunberg, F., Vanier, C., Morissette, R., Ménard-Buteau, C., & Loyer, M. (1994). Suicide and mental disorders: a case-control study of young men. The American journal of psychiatry151(7), 1063–1068. https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.151.7.1063

The banner image for this article was created by the HeadsUpGuys Team using Midjourney (an AI-powered image creator) with the prompt: “young men hold candles at vigil for friend, symmetrical, dramatic, peaceful, super detailed, super realistic, bright, hopeful by james jean”

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