Spotting suicidal thoughts in men

Spotting suicidal thoughts in men
Credit: Africa Studio

In the UK, men are three times more likely than women to take their own lives with research showing that men accounted for three quarters of all suicides in 2017.

Why men are more vulnerable to suicide than women remains a mystery, however it may be compounded by the fact that men are, on average, more reluctant to talk about their emotions.

According to Samaritans, when some men believe they’re not fulfilling the role of provider, they may feel a sense of shame and defeat, which may lead them to consider suicide.

It isn’t always easy to know whether you or someone close to you is feeling suicidal, and in some cases, there are no signs at all.

To help, the wellbeing experts at CABA offer their advice on spotting the signs that you or someone close to you might be experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Spotting the signs

According to the mental health charity Mind, many people think about suicide at some point in their lives. Here are some of the things you may think or feel:

  • Everything’s hopeless – what’s the point in living?
  • There’s nothing positive in your life, everything’s negative
  • Everyone would be better off without you
  • You’re useless, unwanted or unneeded by others
  • Your unbearable pain is never going to end
  • You’re physically numb – you feel cut off from your body
  • Taking your own life is your only option

Meanwhile, you may also experience things like sleeping problems (including waking too early), changes in your appetite and you may lose or gain weight. Your self-esteem may be very low, and you may try to avoid contact with other people and feel no need to take care of yourself (including your physical appearance).

Spotting the signs in others

Spotting when someone else is thinking about suicide can be difficult. But, if you notice any of your loved ones exhibiting the following signs, then it might be time to step in:

  • They talk about feelings of hopelessness
  • They have sudden episodes of rage and anger
  • They act recklessly and take part in risky activities with no concern for the consequences
  • They say they feel trapped, and that they can’t see their way out of their problems
  • They self-harm (this includes misusing drugs or alcohol)
  • They become increasingly withdrawn or appear anxious and agitated

The good news is that, according to Mind, the majority of people who have experienced suicidal feelings go on to live fulfilling lives if they get the support they need.

How you can help

If you do think you or someone close to you is experiencing any of these feelings or showing any of the above signs, there are many organisations that can give you the right advice and support.

If you’re worried about someone or feel like you could do with chatting to a trained, impartial professional, then do not hesitate to contact 1 of the below free helplines. Alternatively, contact your GP or call NHS 111 for an emergency appointment.


Call 116 123 any day, any time. If you prefer to express your feelings in writing, email

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)

CALM is a resource for young men who are feeling unhappy. Call the helpline on 0800 58 58 58.


This voluntary organisation aims to support young people thinking about suicide and those who are concerned about a young person. Call 0800 068 41 41.