My role


Suicide still stealing too many lives away

Suicide among men accounts for more years of life lost than prostate cancer. About 100,000 life years are lost for suicide compared to about 30,000 for prostate cancer. 

'This is an extraordinary statistic', Peter Baker, Chief Executive of the Men's Health Forum told a conference organised by the Forum and Southwark Men's Health Programme today. 'Yet, clearly, suicide receives much less attention and much less funding.'

He said that suicide was still the biggest cause of death in young men, although the statistics were now improving slightly. Recent research had highlighted the particular problem in prison, where the suicide rate was five times higher than among men in the general population. More than 1,300 men in prison aged 15 and over killed themselves between 1978 and 2003. 

In his speech on the current state of men's health at a conference held at Millwall football club, Peter said it was clear that men's health remained unacceptably and unnecessarily poor.

There were serious inequalities between men in terms of life expectancy. At the most extreme, men in parts of Glasgow, Shettleston, had a life expectancy of just 63 years, about the same as a man in China. That meant that half the men in Shettleston were dying well before they even reached  retirement age. 

However, on a more positive note he said we were now seeing a much higher level of engagement with men's health at the national and local levels. An increasing number of organisations, in the statutory, private and voluntary sectors, were showing a clear interest in taking action. And, now new equality legislation has been enacted that has the potential to mainstream men's health in a completely new way.

'Just 10 years ago, such a prognosis would have been laughable. Those of us who were men's health advocates at the time felt we were doomed to spend our lives shouting from the sidelines. How much has changed. Now we can look forward with some genuine optimism to a time when we will start to see real changes in the planning and delivery of health services and when there will no longer be an inherent contradiction in the term "men's health”.'


Page created on March 9th, 2006

Page updated on December 1st, 2009