Middle-aged men run the highest risk of suicide

Middle-aged men are the highest suicide risk group, according to a leading emotional support centre.

Dublin Samaritans has launched a new campaign, Talk to Us, with volunteers taking to the streets to let those at risk know people are available to talk 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The campaign, which targets men in particular, is supported by Ireland and Leinster rugby players Shane Jennings and Isaac Boss, along with singer Dickie Rock.

“The high suicide rate of younger men has received an enormous amount of media attention in recent years but it’s middle-aged men who are at the highest risk of suicide — particularly those who are socio-economically disadvantaged,” said Dublin Samaritans director Brendan Gallagher.

Men were three times more likely to die by suicide than women while those in disadvantaged circumstances were ten times more at risk than those in the highest income groups.

“Middle-aged men are known as the ‘buffer generation’ — caught between an older, silent, austere masculinity of their fathers’ generation and the more open individualistic generation of their sons’ generation,” said Mr Gallagher.

“Many men compare themselves against a masculine ‘gold standard’ which prizes power, control and invincibility. And when one or a number of factors combine to threaten any of these, some men become fragile,” he said.

Dublin Samaritans volunteers will be getting their ‘feet on the street’ next week to remind people living in the capital that they offer emotional support to people on part of their broken journey — either face-to-face at their premises in Marlborough Street, by phone, by text or by email all year round.

“We have been called ‘the fourth emergency service’ but the Dublin Samaritans wants to be seen as a ‘first step’ for people who are struggling to cope, rather than as a last resort,” said Mr Gallagher.

The Dublin Samaritans support group is the second largest branch of the organisation across Britain and Ireland. It has over 320 volunteers and has been operating over 40 years.


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