Radfem National Institute of Health

 

Sexist propaganda of a particularly vicious kind, funded by taxpayers’ money

Ivor Catt   6dec02

 

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/research/suicidefaq.cfm

NIH LogoNational Institutes of Health (NIH)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20892

Frequently Asked Questions about Suicide
Why do men commit suicide more often than women do?

More than four times as many men as women die by suicide; but women attempt suicide more often during their lives than do men, and women report higher rates of depression.  Several explanations have been offered: a) Completed suicide is associated with aggressive behavior that is more common in men, and which may in turn be related to some of the biological differences identified in suicidality.  b) Men and women use different suicide methods.  Women in all countries are more likely to ingest poisons than men.  In countries where the poisons are highly lethal and/or where treatment resources scarce, rescue is rare and hence female suicides outnumber males.  More research is needed on the social-cultural factors that may protect women from completing suicide, and how to encourage men to recognize and seek treatment for their distress, instead of resorting to suicide.

 

 

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Bethesda, Maryland 20892

 

 

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This Special Report was originally posted at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/menshealth/messages
Message Number 629, on December 5, 2002

DISINFORMATION FROM THE NIMH

The NIH National Institute of Mental Health is responsible for
researching the causes and prevention of suicide. The NIMH has also
developed a web page that answers Frequently Asked Questions on this
topic (1).

One question on the website addresses the key question: "Why Do Men
Commit Suicide More Often Than Women Do?" This is the verbatim answer
from the NIMH:

"More than four times as many men as women die by suicide; but women
attempt suicide more often during their lives than do men, and women
report higher rates of depression. Several explanations have been
offered:

a) Completed suicide is associated with aggressive behavior that is
more common in men, and which may in turn be related to some of the
biological differences identified in suicidality.

b) Men and women use different suicide methods. Women in all countries
are more likely to ingest poisons than men. In countries where the
poisons are highly lethal and/or where treatment resources scarce,
rescue is rare and hence female suicides outnumber males.

More research is needed on the social-cultural factors that may
protect women from completing suicide, and how to encourage men to
recognize and seek treatment for their distress, instead of resorting
to suicide."

Unfortunately, this statement is misleading, one-sided, and based on a
discredited psychological theory:


1. The NIMH Answer is Misleading

The NIMH response is misleading for two reasons:

A. "More than four times as many men as women die by suicide; but
women attempt suicide more often during their lives than do men, and
women report higher rates of depression."

Critique:
Many believe that the medical criteria used to diagnose depression are
slanted to pick up the type of symptoms that women often experience
(2). Also, some have criticized mental health programs as not being
adequately attuned to men's psychological needs. As a result, men are
less likely to seek help when they do experience psychological
distress, and male depression is widely under-diagnosed.


B. "b) Men and women use different suicide methods. Women in all
countries are more likely to ingest poisons than men. In countries
where the poisons are highly lethal and/or where treatment resources
scarce, rescue is rare and hence female suicides outnumber males."

Critique:
It is true that women attempting suicide are more likely than men to
overdose with medications or drugs. But the remainder of the above
statement lacks reason or factual basis:

- First, highly lethal poisons are available in all countries of the
world. - Second, a listing of the areas with the very lowest female
suicide rates include many of the poorest countries in the world with
scarce treatment resources. These countries include Colombia, Panama,
Paraguay, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela (3). - Third, in
countries where treatment resources are scarce, this would certainly
increase male suicides, as well. - Fourth, according to the World
Health Organization (3), there is only one country in the world --
China -- where female suicides slightly outnumber male suicides. So
refering to "countries" in the plural is misleading.


2. The NIMH Response is One-Sided

"More research is needed on the social-cultural factors that may
protect women from completing suicide, and how to encourage men to
recognize and seek treatment for their distress, instead of resorting
to suicide."

Critique:
While this statement may be true as far as it goes, the
recommendation leaves out any mention of the need for research on the
social-cultural factors that affect men. This omission is troubling
because of the growing evidence that divorce and loss of child custody
is associated with high rates of suicide in men (4).


3. The NIMH Response is Based on a Discredited Theory

"a) Completed suicide is associated with aggressive behavior that is
more common in men, and which may in turn be related to some of the
biological differences identified in suicidality."

Critique:
The most widely-accepted theory to explain suicide is that suicide
arises from chronic depression that is associated with problematic
interactions with the person's total environment (5,6).

But the NIMH response is based on a very different concept: suicide
represents aggression turned inwards. But the "aggression turned
inwards" theory cannot begin to account for the wide differences in
suicide found among various countries, age groups, races, and marital
status groups. And if suicidal behavior is a result of aggression
turned inwards, then why are women 2-3 times more likely to engage in
suicide attempts than men?

Since persons are incapable of altering their genetic make-up,
biological arguments also have the effect of justifying the social and
political status quo (7). In this instance, the status quo is to
ignore the problem of male suicide. Hence, the NIMH response is based
on a discredited psychological theory that is fundamentally sexist in
nature.


Action Response

Biological differences, lethal poisons, and the scarity of treatment
resources have little or nothing to do with understanding why men are
four times more likely to commit suicide.

Instead, the focus of the NIMH response should be on understanding the
unrealistic burdens that society places on men, the unequal treatment
by divorce courts, and the social isolation that men experience.

While only 7 sentences long, the NIMH response is so replete with
misleading, one-sided, illogical, and discredited claims that it
represents more fabrication than truth.

Every person who reads this message should immediately contact
Clarissa Wittenberg, Director of the NIMH Office of Communications.
Ask her to remove the flawed response, and use a factually-accurate
answer instead. Her e-mail is wittenbc@m... (wittenbc-at-
mail.nih.gov).

And be sure to send a copy of your e-mail to Thomas R. Insel, MD,
Director of the NIMH. His e-mail address is ti4g@nih.gov).


References:
1. www.nimh.nih.gov/research/suicidefaq.cfm

2. Cochran SV et al. Men and Depression: Clinical and Empirical
Perspectives. Academic Press, 2000.

3. Krug E: WHO Report on Violence and Health, Geneva: World Health
Organization, 2002. Table 7.1.

4. Men's Health America: Dads Who Take Their Lives. http://
groups.yahoo.com/group/menshealth, December 3, 2002.

5. Henderson D and Batchelor IRC: Henderson and Gillespie's Textbook
of Psychiatry. London: Oxford University Press, 1962.

6. Meerloo JAM. Suicide, menticide, and psychic homicide. AMA Archives
of Neurology and Psychiatry 1959; 81: 360-362.

7. Men's Health America: Refuting the Myth of Biological Advantage.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/menshealth/message/550. July 29, 2002.

 

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To Clarissa Wittenberg, Director of the NIMH Office of Communications. wittenbc@m...

   wittenbc@mail.nih.gov

 

The attack on young men in the western world extends beyond the NIMH. See http://www.ivorcatt.com/01.htm . However, the attack by NIMH, see above, is particularly destructive, and will fuel the accelerating suicide rate for young men. (It also links with Oklahoma and September 11, and also the recent Washington serial killings, which are the incompetent backlash. There is more to come.) Please remove it, and then replace it with honest analysis.

Although the reasons for this accelerating suicide rate are heavily censored, the idea that they are not known by professionals like you is risible. Erin Pizzey, whose grandson recently committed suicide, will enlighten you. So will my other associates, if you really are ignorant on the matter.

Ivor Catt      6dec02