Single? Female? Suicide?
Carrie Dunn // 28 February 2008
Yes, it’s a valid, topical piece of news, reporting on new ONS figures about suicide rates in the UK.
The numbers from the ONS indicate that in 2005, 30.8 single men per 100,000 died by suicide, compared with 10.6 per 100,000 married men. (The apparent link between male mental health and marriage has been well-documented before.) They also show that in the same period, 10.3 single women per 100,000 died by suicide compared with 3.6 per 100,000 married women.
How do the Daily Mail report this? Not with a serious report looking at this disparity. Not with a news item mentioning that single men are three times more likely to die by suicide than single women (and this high suicide rate among single men is of course desperately concerning).
No. Why, they cover it with the breezy little headline Single Women Three Times More Likely To Kill Themselves Than Married Peers. And what is their advice? Their chosen expert, Professor Nigel Wellman (oh, the finger-stinging irony), kindly offers this suggestion for those of us without a wedding ring on our fingers: “Married people are likely to be more stable as they have constant support they can turn to in times of need. It is difficult to know what can be done other than encourage more people to get married.”
Better get on that straight away, everyone. It’s the 29th tomorrow. Get proposing. YOU OWE IT TO YOUR FUTURE MENTAL HEALTH.