Nearly one-quarter of suicides reported in the capital last year involved middle-aged men, the Taipei Department of Health said yesterday, urging people who have negative emotions or suicidal thoughts to seek professional help.
Citing Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics, Mental Health Division head Tseng Guang-pei (曾光佩) said that 339 Taipei residents committed suicide last year, including 212 men, with men aged 45 to 64 accounting for 24.5 percent.
The top three reasons for suicide among middle-aged men last year were mental health problems and substance abuse (54 percent), relationship or family issues (32 percent), and work or financial problems (29 percent), Tseng said, citing a Taipei Suicide Prevention Center report.
About half of the cases involved a combination of reasons, she said.
Li Jen Psychological Clinic psychologist Huang Chun-wei (黃春偉) said that due to cultural or social factors, middle-aged men usually find it more difficult to talk about emotional distress amid major stress events, whether it be work, financial problems or conflict with family.
Middle-aged men typically carry a heavy responsibility of being the breadwinner for the whole family and often have to take care of aging parents and children, while also managing a marriage, Huang said, adding that men should share their thoughts with family members and family members should express more care.
Middle-aged men should not let the responsibility of family and work become their whole life, but should search for other things that also make them happy or help them gain a sense of achievement, Huang said.
“If people often feel agitated, depressed, nervous and other negative emotions, or continuously feel tired, but are unable to sleep while facing stress from family or work, they might develop mental health issues or even have thoughts about harming themselves,” he said.
Professional help from counselors or psychologists in such situations is important, he said.
The health department said that if people have suicidal thoughts or behavior, or if they suspect a friend or family member is having problems, they can call the 1999 hotline, extension 8885, or the ministry’s suicide prevention lifeline at 1925.
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