Health experts say it is harder for men to express their emotions compared to women. This has led to high suicide rates in men. Data maintained by the Royal Bhutan Police show more males dying by suicide compared to females in the past four years. Psychiatrists at the National Referral Hospital say when men attempt suicide, their methods are more extreme compared to women.
In 2022 and 2021, out of the 212 cases of suicide recorded by the RBP, 144 were men. Similarly, in 2020 and 2019, there were 209 suicide cases, with almost 140 men.
According to the World Health Organisation, more than twice as many males die due to suicide compared to females. Doctor Damber Kumar Nirola, a psychiatrist with the national referral hospital, says men tend to suffer silently.
“I believe women are more forthcoming when it comes to seeking help. Men could also be suffering, but the thing is, many men tend to show that they are mentally strong. That is the perception that we have. Everybody thinks, “Oh, you are a man; you should be strong” and all that. So, instead of seeking help, they might resort to some sort of peer support, in which case sometimes they indulge in alcohol, drugs, or something like that just to self-medicate themselves, and they may not seek help in time.”
According to a BBC News report, women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression and make suicide attempts. However, men are more likely to die by suicide.
RENEW, an organisation, which provides counselling services free of cost for all family members affected by domestic violence and gender-based violence say, despite the organisation being open to all genders, men rarely come to seek help.
RENEW says the men who do come to seek support are mostly those who suffer economic abuse at home.
“So, it’s mainly economic abuse followed by emotional abuse. Because they think that it is only for women, because the last acronym itself stands for women, and that is a wrong perception. RENEW is not only for women; it is also for men. And there is no gender bias or gender discrimination when it comes to RENEW, ” said Suman Pradhan, senior counsellor at RENEW.
This year, six men sought help from RENEW along with 147 females including four minors.
Meanwhile, Doctor Nirola suggests not to ignore anyone you know who may be suffering mentally. Moreover, he said to empathise with them rather than sympathise.
If you or anyone you know needs support, you can contact the PEMA Secretariat at their toll-free hotline number 1010 or 112.
You can also get an appointment to see counsellors in hospitals across the country.
Edited by Sherub Dorji