Six young men take their lives in Norway every month. This has been the case for many years. Now researchers are on the trail of why.

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This is what forskning.no writes in a research article that focuses on suicide among young men. 

 

Stable suicide rates despite national suicide prevention action plan

Forskning.no further writes that Norway was one of the first countries in the world to establish national action plans against suicide in 1994, but nevertheless the suicide rates have remained fairly stable. There is particular concern about the young men.

This is what researcher and psychologist Mette Lyberg Rasmussen at the National Institute of Public Health tells forskning.no, who emphasizes that even though Norway has built up the offer within mental health care - but that it seems to have done little with the suicide figures.

The researcher encourages to shift the focus to trying to understand why people take their lives. Instead of focusing on a specific mental illness, one should look at what characterizes those who commit suicide in terms of personality.

 

Problems regulating shame and anger after defeat or rejection

There are many examples of young men who seem to be functioning well, suddenly and unexpectedly to their surroundings, choosing to end their lives. 

Researcher and psychologist Mette Lyberg Rasmussen points out that it can be difficult to detect that something is wrong in relation to these men:

Prior to the suicide, neither close family, friends nor ex-girlfriends understood that the men, who were very performance-oriented, were in serious crisis, she tells forskning.no.

In other words, there were no clear signs of mental illness in many of these men, but on the contrary, the following personality traits were often prominent:

These young men seem to have little to go on, if they do not succeed with goals or are rejected. In such situations, a strong feeling of shame and a lot of anger arises, which they are neither able to handle nor regulate.

 

Important to catch signs of despair and desperation

Recent studies show that up to 40 percent of people who take their lives have no identifiable mental illness in advance. Very many of the young men who take their lives were not in contact with mental health care in the time before the suicide.

According to the researcher, it is rare that the young men have expressed any direct plans to take their own lives.

The survivors, on the other hand, tell of some indirect signs in the period before the suicide, related to how they experienced the young man expressing desperation, and talking about things he should have handled differently, Rasmussen says

She adds that relatives and close people can be important in meeting men in their despair and desperation, and that it is especially important to address statements one is stunned by, gut feelings that make one uneasy, and to explore these directly with the person, there and then. 

 

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Written by

ove heradstveit

Ove Heradstveit

Psychologist, specialist in clinical community psychology. PhD.
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