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Are men really having a masculinity crisis?

By Zach Wener-Fligner

2014-15 Fellow. Quartz Things team.

Is masculinity killing men? That’s the argument made by a new report released Wednesday by the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), a British nonprofit for the prevention of male suicide.

The report, “A Crisis in Modern Masculinity,” focuses on the UK, where males commit 78% of all suicides and suicides account for 18.2 out of every 100,000 male deaths, the highest rate in 15 years. In the US, suicides accounted for 20.3 of every 100,000 deaths in 2012, the highest number since 1995. Rates are particularly high among middle-aged men, and even more precisely, those without college degrees.

CALM argues that traditional masculine expectations increasingly place undue pressure on men. In a 1,000-person survey taken for the report, CALM found that 42% of men felt the need to be the main household breadwinner (compared with 13% of women), while 29% of men believe that if they lost their job their partner would see them as “less of a man.”

When it comes down to it, those pressures don’t add up to a greater prevalence of depression among men, broadly. In fact, the opposite is true: women are more likely to be depressed. But depressed men are less likely to seek help, making them more susceptible to suicide.

“Men need help and they need it now,” said CALM chief executive Jane Powell. “As a nation we must put in place both short term and long term properly funded and coordinated gender-specific responses to this crisis with solutions that are replicated across the country.”

Facebook photo credit: Flickr user kwimsnr.

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