DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) – A new report from the Iowa Department of Public Health shows that men make up the majority of completed suicides.
The report said that suicide is the leading cause of violent deaths in the state. And four-out-of-five of those suicides were committed by men.
One of the theories behind the high suicide rate within men relates to how men and women are raised. According to Dr. Michael Peroski, Psychiatrist at Medical Associates, he said the masculine stigma is a big factor as to why men don’t seek professional help.
“For example, if someone was brought up in a household or an environment where they were told, ‘You’re a man. You’re supposed to be strong and keep a stiff upper lip,’ and those kinds of things,” said Dr. Peroski. “It can be harder to talk about feelings because it was not something that was done growing up or something that was encouraged growing up.”
Dr. Peroski said that while women are three times more likely to attempt suicide, men are three times more likely to follow through.
However, Dr. Lee Berman, Psychiatrist at Medical Associates, said that he’s seen more men seeking help. But the negative stigma behind mental illness can affect both genders.
“I’ve seen men that are more open and some men that are closed off. And the same with women. I think that it has changed probably and that is has become more equal in terms of men being more willing to talk about their feelings,” said Dr. Berman. “But, I think if you’re from a rural area, there’s a highly likelihood that you might be told not to talk about things that might be difficult.”
Farmers and rural workers are especially vulnerable to depression and suicidal thoughts. This is due to both the stress of the job and the lack of mental health resources.