Male suicide tackled in seminar
Philippe Roy, PhD student in Social Work at Université Laval in Canada, will lead the seminar, drawing on research into suicide rates in Québec: which were much more common in men than women in 1999 than they were in 2010, as a result of new approaches in positive psychology.
Speaking ahead of the seminar, Philippe commented: "For many years, higher suicide rates among men have drawn attention to the deficits of masculinity. While these are essential for understanding the connections between gender and health, this focus can perpetuate the marginalisation of many men and take attention away from promoting healthy masculine practices. This seminar discusses the need to go beyond the focus on deficits to also include strengths and solutions or, to use a football analogy, it's like focussing more on the goal than the goalie."
Québec once had the highest rate of suicide among all Canadian provinces and industrialised countries. Since the peak in 1999-2000, the suicide rate in Québec has declined by 41% among men and 29% among women. This brought the suicide mortality sex ratio from 4:1 (men:women) in 1999 to 3:1 in 2010.
Researchers have mainly focussed on 'toxic' aspects of masculinities, such as stoicism and reluctance to seek help to explain this contrast between the sexes. New approaches provided by positive psychology, and focusing on ways of managing stress and wellbeing may help us understand how certain male roles, such as a sense of responsibility toward family, can work to prevent male suicide.
Philippe's seminar will illustrate how these approaches can inform the development of suicide prevention programmes.
Karl Witty, organiser of the Centre for Men's Health Seminar Series and Research Officer at Leeds Met, added: "The series aims to raise awareness and promote discussion around the key issues within men's health and encourage the development of future, collaborative research in the field. Our next seminar will discuss key findings from the evaluation of the Premier League Health programme."
Philippe Roy is currently doing a research traineeship at Leeds Metropolitan University's Centre for Men's Health as a part of his thesis on stress coping and help-seeking among male farmers. This group's higher rates of psychological distress and suicide are well known in many parts of the world, but little is known on how coping and help-seeking are negotiated in the context of men's health.
For more information about the seminar series and to reserve a place, please contact HSSResearchSupportUnit@leedsmet.ac.uk or call 0113 812 4334.