Andrea S. Fogarty , PhD , 1 , Michael Spurrier , PhD 1 , Michael J. Player , PhD 1 , Kay Wilhelm , MD 1 , 2 , 3 , Erin L. Whittle , MPH 1 , Fiona Shand , PhD 1 , Helen Christensen , PhD 1 , Judith Proudfoot , PhD 1
14 August 2017
Men generally have higher rates of suicide, despite fewer overt indicators of risk. Differences in presentation and response suggest a need to better understand why suicide prevention is less effective for men.
To explore the views of at‐risk men, friends and family about the tensions inherent in suicide prevention and to consider how prevention may be improved.
Secondary analysis of qualitative interview and focus group data, using thematic analysis techniques, alongside bracketing, construction and contextualisation.
A total of 35 men who had recently made a suicide attempt participated in interviews, and 47 family and friends of men who had made a suicide attempt took part in focus groups. Participants recounted their experiences with men's suicide attempts and associated interventions, and suggested ways in which suicide prevention may be improved.
Five tensions in perspectives emerged between men and their support networks, which complicated effective management of suicide risk: (i) respecting privacy vs monitoring risk, (ii) differentiating normal vs risky behaviour changes, (iii) familiarity vs anonymity in personal information disclosure, (iv) maintaining autonomy vs imposing constraints to limit risk, and (v) perceived need for vs failures of external support services.
Tension between the different perspectives increased systemic stress, compounding problems and risk, thereby decreasing the effectiveness of detection of and interventions for men at risk of suicide. Suggested solutions included improving risk communication, reducing reliance on single source supports and increasing intervention flexibility in response to individual needs.