The Hidden Health Risk for ‘Tough Guys’

In the U.S., men die by suicide at three and a half times the rate women do. And some face an even greater danger than others, new research finds.

Those who scored high on a scale measuring traditional masculine values were almost two and a half times more likely to die by suicide than those who didn’t. That means they identified more with traits like competitiveness, holding back emotions and aggression.

Why? “Manly” men may not seek help for depression or other conditions, believing it signals weakness. Plus, their anger and hostility might make it harder for doctors and others to detect mental health problems. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, suicide rates were rising among men in every age category, from 10 through 74.

Now, experts predict even more mental health problems. Stress, loss and economic concerns could lead to more feelings of hopelessness. So, it’s more important than ever to focus on psychological well-being.

Thoughts of harming yourself or even taking your own life may arise when you don’t see a way out of your pain. But no matter how isolated you feel, you’re not alone. With help, you can feel better.

If you or someone you know is in need of support, please contact Colorado Crisis Services at 844-493-TALK (8255), text "TALK" to 38255 or go to to access a live chat available in 17 languages.

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Let’s Talk Colorado was launched to improve access to physical and behavioral health care. Learn more at

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