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Depression and suicide attempts in women

(115 Posts)
Goosefoot Wed 14-Aug-19 19:11:40

I think there is such a mental health problem for both men and women, and so many gaps all round, that it's difficult to sort out if there are particular gaps for men and women.

I tend to think the elephant in the room is that the frequency of mental health problems in the west is significantly related to the way we live, and it's pretty well known that certain types of changes could make a significant difference to the problem. Lack of extended family or other deep social contacts for most people makes a huge difference. For women specifically, as an example, a tight knit supportive community can significantly reduce incidents and seriousness of PPD. But we can't easily change those things, or maybe don't want to.

sarahg216 Wed 14-Aug-19 18:59:22

I’d like it if there was a lot more investment in support services for women from communities where domestic abuse and sexual abuse in marriage seems to be permitted.
I think there are women in desperate situations in the uk but domestic violence services are not set up to help women from minority cultures/non English speakers feel comfortable to access them because they are afraid of the repercussions. And it doesn’t seem right that women are just left in these situations.

Whatisthisfuckery Wed 14-Aug-19 18:57:01

I don’t want to go into it too deeply but last year I tried to take my own life. I very almost hanged myself, but managed to talk myself out of it by thinking about who would find me. It was in a public area and would probably have been a neighbour.

It stayed my hand for a couple of hours but then I caved and basically took a month’s worth of my medication, plus some more I had left over. I fully intended to kill myself, but I had to call for help because I didn’t want my child coming home from finding me, or not being able to get in and having to call the police who would find me.

If I hadn’t called for help I would’ve died, there’s no doubt about that. I would’ve just laid down and died right there, but I’m a single parent and I at least needed to make sure my child was safe.

Looking back on it it was stupid but I really didn’t want to go on. I survived without any ill affects thank god but I’ve had absolutely no help with my MH since. What I did get however is a whole load of grief, accusations and hassle from SS. There were times where I thought it wasn’t worth it and I’d do it properly this time but I’ve managed to get myself back on track, despite an absolute shitload of other huge problems to deal with. Housing and trying to divorce my abusive H being only some.

I’m doing much better now although still not divorced. The family courts really don’t work for women. I’m still getting no help with my MH and the housing issues could come up again as still not sorted, as they’re related to XH. I’m still banging my head against a brick wall but I’m stronger, for now at least. Reading all the strong intelligent women on here has helped more than you can imagine.

I’ll keep on keeping on, though I still have all the same problems to deal with with no end in sight.There really is very little help out there, and I’m not bloody surprised women have a high rate of suicide attempts.

YourSarcasmIsDripping Wed 14-Aug-19 18:48:47

Globally, death by suicide occurred about 1.8 times more often among males than among females in 2008, and 1.7 times in 2015.[4][5][6] In the western world, males die by suicide three to four times more often than do females.[4][7] This greater male frequency is increased in those over the age of 65.[8] Suicide attempts are between two and four times more frequent among females.[9][10][11] Researchers have attributed the difference between attempted and completed suicides among the sexes to males using more lethal means to end their lives.[7][12][13]

There was a website confirming that females attempt it a lot more than males in the US but couldn't find one for the UK.

Gwynfluff Wed 14-Aug-19 18:37:52

Interesting article here - confirming that ratio nearly equalised when domestic gas could be used

Sorry that’s is a weirdly long link

Dyrne Wed 14-Aug-19 18:30:29

Really interesting that men choose more violent methods - it makes complete sense and would definitely account for the differences in ‘outcome’.

I agree that support facilities are pathetic. All very well encouraging to ‘seek help’ but it’s not very useful when you then have to wait months for talking therapies!!!

Very telling then that even if women are more likely to seek help, what does that say about how they are still more likely to attempt suicide? Definitely shows that the system is failing vulnerable people.

LightsInOtherPeoplesHouses Wed 14-Aug-19 17:26:44

This is an interesting topic.

I don't know what the current stats are, but overall women are more likely to attempt suicide but less likely to die. This is due to different methods used, men tend to use more 'active methods' which are less survivable.

Another factor is that, in the UK, access to some methods favoured by women have been restricted or removed altogether. So in the past I believe suicide rates for women were higher than for men, but one of the most successful ways of reducing suicide is by restricting access to/eliminating methods.

As far as accessing GPs and mental health services goes, women are more likely to ask for help than men. Presumably gender stereotypes come into play here.

If I get a chance I'll dig out the stats, but they're all available if you Google them.

ButterflyOne1 Wed 14-Aug-19 16:56:21

The statistics speak for themselves, more men complete suicide therefore the focus is on getting them to open up, talk and seek help.

Generally women are more inclined to speak to someone if they are feeling down and this in turn should help them.

I just don't understand why it can't be neutral, just general health matters and provide awareness and support to everyone involved.

AnotherAdultHumanFemale Wed 14-Aug-19 16:52:07

Typo/grammar corrections:

*(they) don't even see it for what it is

*They get taught to blame themselves by an abuser so they do blame themselves, thinking that something is wrong with them (not great grammar I know but it's hard to explain!)

AnotherAdultHumanFemale Wed 14-Aug-19 16:49:42

I second what Inebriati says about domestic abuse. I think loads of women commit suicide or try to after experiencing domestic abuse, especially if their ex is a narcissist or psychopath who mostly uses emotional and psychological abuse whilst being charming so nobody believes them.

When you get counselling for depression nobody ever asks you if you've experienced abuse, including abuse in childhood and domestic abuse. And even then a lot of women experience abuse and don't even see fit for what it is, due to conditioning and gaslighting. They get taught to blame then they do blame themselves and think something is wrong with them.

So women can and often do get years of therapy without getting to the root cause of their depression, instead thinking something is wrong with their brain chemistry or that they inherited depression or they are just a naturally depressive person.

EverardDigby Wed 14-Aug-19 16:40:14

Something I read last year indicated that young Asian women have high actual suicide rates but this gets lost in general stats.

TheInebriati Wed 14-Aug-19 16:32:12

Is there a gap here in addressing womens’ mental health?
Yes theres a massive gap. Abuse including CSA and DV is a known factor for mental health problems, depression and suicide in women.

Tackling the root cause of male violence towards women would save the country billions of wasted pounds every year, and thats before you look at the human cost.

Thats not hyperbole, DV alone costs an estimated £66 billion a year.

“I’d have saved years if someone had asked”: Mental health services must ask about abuse''

Kilbranan Wed 14-Aug-19 16:31:43

Sorry to hear that hugs hope you are in a better place now and have found some support

It’s been suggested that more men commit suicide because they tend to go for more violent methods such as hanging, jumping from height or in front of train etc. Women will more often overdose or cut themselves and there is a greater chance that they can be saved with the right treatment, as opposed to the more violent methods which are instantly or very rapidly fatal.
I would say we have a mental health crisis affecting men and women caused by many different factors but certainly lack of mental health provision on nhs is a big problem. Any campaign to encourage people to seek help is a good thing. But I agree that focusing scarce resources too much on one sex could be to the detriment of the other

HugsAreMyDrugs Wed 14-Aug-19 16:16:27

I think it's partly because suicide attempts can easily be dismissed as someone just looking for attention or seen as a cry for help.

I attempted suicide in December and I was certainly not doing it for attention. I wanted to die and was angry when I failed.

It pisses me off so much when people dismiss suicide attempts. They should be taken more seriously.

Dyrne Wed 14-Aug-19 16:05:59

Firstly, I absolutely want to stress that I fully support the current conversation and momentum about mental health for men - tackling the toxic masculinity and “man up” culture is so important; and I would never want to imply that conversation isn’t important. (Hence me starting my own thread in feminism chat; I would never want to derail an important campaign with “well, actually...”).

Having said all that, I see a lot of talk about how “more men commit suicide than women”. While I completely agree that is an important fact and very useful to get the conversation going and getting men to open up; something often gets left out of these statistics - although men have more successful suicide attempts; women actually attempt suicide more often than men.

Is there a gap here in addressing womens’ mental health?

I think there is a lot behind this - society’s expectation of performing femininity: pressure for women to have a successful career while still being expected to do the bulk of the childcare/housework; having to be seen to “have it all” and do it easily and without complaint.

There is also the question of whether women may find it more difficult in getting taken seriously at the doctor’s office (not sure on stats for mental health; but difficulty accessing treatment for physical health problems is well documented).

Does anyone have any links/studies that have looked into this?

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