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The Gender Paradox of Suicide

Studies show that there are a number of gender differences in suicide. These differences are known as the gender paradox of suicide. While women are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts, men are much more likely to take their own lives.

Suicide statistics reveal that women are roughly three times more likely to attempt suicide, though men are three to four times more likely to die by suicide.

This is ultimately driven by the method or mode of suicide. Men tend to choose more lethal suicide methods, such as firearms, hanging, and asphyxiation, whereas women are more likely to overdose on medications or cut their wrists. While these means can still be fatal, some suicide attempts can be thwarted with quick action. A hospital can pump your stomach to avert an overdose. Wrapping your wrist with a towel can reduce or stop the flow of blood. There are ways intervention can preserve life during a suicide attempt.

Methodology matters when it comes to suicide. Access and familiarity to lethal means also speaks to the gender paradox. Regardless of gender, we can lower suicide rates and save lives with conversation.

Discuss suicide plans when people are at-risk of suicide. Ask if they have a suicide plan to discover what method is being considered. This small step helps to develop a pathway to avert lethal choices and keep the person with suicidal thoughts safe. Disengaging the suicide plan is vital, but understanding the gender paradox can guide caregivers in how to address safety planning with at-risk populations.

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