Wednesday, September 11, 2013

World Suicide Prevention Day and the World Happiness Report

The World Happiness Report (WHR) was released on September 9 2013, the day before  World Suicide Prevention Day.

Suicide is tragic regardless of the race, sex, or age of the victim. The tragedy, and this burden of guilt must be carried by our entire culture, is that some among us feel so hopeless about their future that they feel their only option is to die. Suicide affects everyone close to the victim, often destroying the lives of the survivors.

If suicide is to be addressed effectively, it needs to be understood. That means openly talking about victim demographics; who they are and why they commit suicide, for starters. And yet even on World Suicide Prevention Day, the media chose to be evasive about the truth.

The CTV news piece about World Suicide Prevention Day mentioned the many suicide cohorts, the complexities of suicide, that individuals have differing motives, that differences occur within each age group. In fact they went to considerable trouble to touch on these complexities. 

But the CTV commentators avoided the single biggest and most significant statistic surrounding suicide:
Male victims outnumber female victims 4 to 1. Almost everyone knows this fact, and this statistic only represents the confirmed deaths by suicide. The true number of male suicides is likely much higher: men drink themselves to death, essentially self-medicating to avoid intolerable emotional pain, and men engage in extremely risky behavior, often leading to premature "accidental" death as a form of distraction from the reality of their lives. 

Most of the website posts that I found about World Suicide Prevention Day also deliberately avoided the fact that suicide disproportionately affects males, for example here, and on WikipediaThe Centre for Addiction and Mental Health goes so far as to mention Teens, Soldiers, and Aboriginal Communities as having disproportionately high rates of suicide. But no mention of Males as a cohort group. 

Not even Suicide Prevention Canada mentions the extraordinary fact that suicide is completed mostly by males, even though the statistical significance of the male suicide rate is so great that "being male" should be added to the list of risk factors for suicide. 

But the opposite is happening. This truth is being minimized or even ignored, as if the male cohort is really not important. And that's the crux of the matter. It isn't important because, as courageous researchers like Warren Farrell and Michael Gilbert have shown, males are considered disposable in our culture.

It's not that the suicide researchers are shy to point out special victim cohorts. The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) lists several special interest groups and task forces including Suicidal Behaviour in Adolescents, Suicide and the Workplace, Suicide and the Media, Suicide in Older People, Suicide in Prisons. They simply refuse to consider "Suicide in Males" as a cohort; the single largest and statistically significant cohort within this entire topic. In fact I could not find any mention of the gender-disproportionate nature of suicide anywhere on the IASP website.

This is the 20,000 ton elephant in the room: suicide is overwhelmingly committed by males. Why is that? The media in our culture have no reservations about identifying a male cohort when identification is negative, like crime or violence, or even creating false negative images of males, like men are clumsy, insensitive, less capable parents, or even promoting the discredited assertion that perpetrators of domestic violence are almost exclusively male. But when males are the overwhelming victims, that topic suddenly becomes gender-neutral, or even reversed using some twisted assertion like when Hillary Clinton claimed that "women have always been the primary victims of war."

The only site I found that has the courage to state the truth about male suicide up front and center was the UK government, which openly states that suicide is the leading cause of death in young men.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) leads with the neutral statement that "90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their deaths." Dig into their website and you will read that 4 times as many males than females commit suicide but this next statistic is particularly revealing:  as a race, white people have the highest incidence of suicide, higher than Native Americans by a considerable margin. At first glance this is surprising, because most people believe that Native Americans have a suicide problem. But the hard cold fact is: the cohort group with highest incidence of suicide in North America, and possibly the world, is White Males, the very same group that feminists claim are oppressing everyone else. 

Why is that? Why would a group of "privileged oppressors" feel so hopeless about their lives that they kill themselves. This lead me to the World Happiness Report (WHR), and more importantly, what the media is not telling us about the WHR. 

The countries rated as having the happiest people in the world are all industrialized countries. This shouldn't be too surprising, and that's about as deep as the media coverage went on this report. But the report itself is exhaustive, and goes to great pains to extract useful and reliable estimates from the mountain of collected data and the factors that affect happiness. 

Big Media ignores a very significant finding: "In most advanced countries women report higher satisfaction and happiness than men." Then, in a stunning example of bias, the researchers rationalize their finding with this mind-bending statement: "women are relatively happier in countries where gender rights are more equal." Not that women's rights might exceed men's rights in these countries, for example in family law and employment law, but that they are "more equal." It doesn't occur to them to ask why women are happier than men in the industrialized world. They merely claim, out of thin air, that it must be because gender rights are "more equal" in these countries. 

The WHR report also emphasized such things as health and educational opportunities as critical to happiness. In North America, spending on female-specific health greatly outpaces male-specific health spending, and females now also outnumber males 2 to 1 at university. Is that "more equal" enough for you? If we get any "more equal" we won't have any male university students at all.

Another study, Gender and Well-Being around the World (GWBW), found the same thing: "Women around the world are happier than men, regardless of which happiness question is used." Furthermore they, too, use double-speak: "the findings suggest that the gap is greater (e.g. women are happier) where gender rights are more equal." Where on earth do they get the nerve to offer such a facile dismissal of such an overwhelmingly significant finding?

The finding is simply not important to the authors. Would it be important if the genders were reversed? If women were less happy than men, would the researchers be concerned? 

We don't have to speculate on that. The authors of the WHR conducted a case study on Bhutan, one of the very few countries in the world where men were found to be happier than women. The authors conclude: "The fact that two-thirds of deeply happy people are men is of clear policy interest," whereas of course the fact that men are less happy than women in EVERY INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD is of no interest, or worse, it is evidence that gender rights are "more equal" in the industrialized countries. 

The World (un)Happiness Report parallels the 4 to 1 suicide gender-imbalance, an imbalance also found in every industrialized country. That's a whopper of a coincidence! But, inexplicably, this is of no interest to the "scientists." 

And this finding extends into marriage as well. The GWBW report concluded that "Married men are less happy than married women in all three income regions, although the happiness gap between married men and married women is smallest in the low income countries." Could this possibly be a reflection of draconian anti-male divorce laws, and the fact that married men know how screwed they are if the wife gets angry enough to file for divorce? Could it be a reflection of the relative lack of resources devoted to men's health, or the emphasis on hiring and promoting women over men due to Affirmative Action, or the stampede to label and medicate young boys for ADHD, or the rise in false sexual assault charges? Well that herd of elephants is probably too big to fit in any room on this planet.

The status of men in North America, and their disadvantage in the gender war, is so bad that a new group calling themselves MGTOW, short for Men Going Their Own Way, has sprung up. To varying degrees, these men opt for a life without a woman or a family of their own. A similar trend spontaneously started in Japan, they call themselves "Grass Eaters," and it's causing concern among women and employers.

These men have decided that the risks of being involved with a woman, like presumption of guilt in DV accusations and the likelihood of losing house, paycheck and kids when the marriage runs into trouble, have led them to the conclusion that dropping out is the best solution. Can you blame them? 

This week Big Media reported on World Happiness, but hid the most significant finding of all: men are less happy than women. Some of this unhappiness is the hopelessness that leads to suicide. 

The next day was World Suicide Prevention Day and the most extraordinary fact of all about suicide was not mentioned: that suicide victims are overwhelmingly male. 

We've got to get a handle on suicide, male and female, and the World Happiness Report has handed us a big red flag that could point us in the direction of some of the causes of suicide, and therefor help us address the problem. We should you use it fully, even if the results are politically incorrect. Lives are depending on it.



It has become so rare to see males portrayed in a positive way in TV advertisements that I want to end this blog post with this absolutely wonderful Guinness basketball ad. Men need to help men. Big Business, Big Media, and Big Government are not going to do it. They are too busy making gender rights even "more equal" than they are now.