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Suicide in Men


suicide in menLet's talk about what suicide in men looks like.  I had a client last week take some sleeping medication and then follow that up by drinking a bottle of gin (the large handle kind).  He claims he wasn't trying to kill himself.  Nevertheless, this is what suicide in men often looks like.

He ended up in the emergency room with his blood alcohol content over 5x the legal limit (+.40), his liver and kidneys shutting down, and doctors saying he could die.

Not all suicide in men is violent, like by gunshot.  I've had a number of men I've worked with over the years, intentionally or unintentionally, consumer alcohol or medication, or both, and nearly kill themselves.

The guy above survived.  He still insists it wasn't his intent to kill himself.  Nonetheless, his wife and kids could have been attending a funeral last week rather than sitting in my office talking about his poor choice of how to cope with what he was feeling.

Everyone who follows the NFL knows Junior Seau -- one of the toughest guys to play the game.  Sadly, 2 weeks ago he became another example of suicide men when he put a gun to his chest and killed himself.

Here’s what a couple of ex-NFL players had to say about Seau, suicide and men:

"One of the baddest dudes may have just killed himself ... Yeah, y'all real tough. Life after football is REAL ... grown ass men struggle emotionally ... young boys don't see the end ... it's coming. Life lesson today. RIP Seau," said former Saints and Browns offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley on Twitter after Seau's body was found. (Violent Sport Has Its Day of Reckoning)

"This notion of why he didn't seek help was real simple. He was too proud. He didn't have the mindset to seek help because all you're taught when you're playing football is to not show weakness. You have to feel like you're an invincible human being to play the game." Gary Plummer, former teammate of Seau. (Tragedies of the 1994 Chargers)

Suicide and men comes in many forms, but all share some common characteristics:

  • Typically Silent, often unknown until it's too late;
  • Driven by Pride and Shame which create an unwillingness to be seen as weak in acknowledging feelings and in asking for help in how to deal with them;
  • Response to Emotions that men don't know how to handle, so they check out.

Guys, listen to what LeCharles said above, "grown ass men struggle emotionally."  It’s normal -- and many of us men need counseling to learn how to handle these emotions.  I've had to do it, and so have many other guys who are better off for being strong and asking for help.  Suicide in men doesn't end the pain; it just puts it on other people.

Suicide Men Resources


Hi Kurt, 
I have been using one of your other forums but in my last post i made comment as to how i feel my partners behaviour is more to do with depression than desire and i feel he is constantly finding ways to sabotage himself and self harm. when he goes on a bender he is taking his body so close to the edge he has brushed death more than once. the risks he takes sometimes are far from logical and he is prone to pushing further than the last time. i think he feels he is bad and shameful and so he does extreme things to make his feelings justifiable and reality. He talks about the shame of suicide and how people say how selfish it is but how it just a solution to never having to think again. yes it would hurt us but he would not know because he would be gone and the end is final. I do not think he would do the out and out suicide unless things where obviously at rock bottom but i think he toys with death all the time when he pushes his body and takes risks. he has hurt me very badly recently but i am almost his only family and the only person he can turn to at any time. i am caught between feeling that i should have in place some boundaries and some self respect and also in believing that without me standing by him he will push himself over the edge. i know i am not responsible for him and i know he must help himself but me and our children are his only safe base. i do love him and i want to be with him and for things to be well but i am hurt too. If he was not suffering this he is very intelligent, athletic, handsome and capable. i think sometimes having the tools in the box but not being equipped to use them is very upsetting for him. I'd be very grateful for your advice, thank you.
Posted @ Monday, May 21, 2012 6:17 AM by m
M, You're right in that you need to set some clear boundaries and that you're not responsible for him. Knowing this and doing this are two very different things, as you know. You need more advice/help than I can provide in this forum. Set-up a meeting with me by clicking on the services page in the header above (can be by phone/online), or find another professional counselor. Be careful not to underestimate what he could do -- that's the mistake the people in the article made -- and get some professional help. -Kurt
Posted @ Thursday, May 31, 2012 8:17 AM by Kurt Smith, MFT, AFC
Not all suicides are real. My uncle wad ruled a suicide but later my mom found out it was actually hate crime committed by my predator father. My brother, now lives w dad after trying too have sex w mom and me. And I think it only happened cuz after sleeping w Dad for a week dressed as a girl, became confused boy who got embarrassed about trying to have sex w mom and me. He has no future now dad wants me and I don't want to. I don't like sex Grandma says they have to keep stalking me and mom to keep informed but I know its to see if I ever tell this. Plus they didn't like my uncle for alth lifestyle
Posted @ Monday, February 25, 2013 5:06 PM by regan
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