Absent bodies and invisible lives

7. Why are older men so vulnerable?

This analysis challenged widespread suicide myths in the professional and popular literature, including the idea that interpersonal losses (e.g. widowhood) are relatively unimportant in older male suicide. It also highlighted often overlooked facts in European-descent older men’s suicide proneness, including the fact that European-descent older men have less exposure than older women to many of the conditions (e.g. depression, chronic illnesses and functional disabilities, financial difficulties, widowhood, and living alone) assumed to increase suicide risk in older adults.

Therefore, the ageing adversities burden per se does not explain the extraordinary suicide proneness of European-descent older men, relative to older women or ethnic minority older men. Suicide for many European-descent older men seems to be a response to the ordinary challenges and losses of ageing (Canneto, 2015, 15).