We are witness to a record rise in suicide amongst young men. The latest figures show that male suicide accounted for 76% of all suicides in the UK in 2014, some 4,623 deaths. Suicide is the single biggest cause of death of men aged under-45 in this country.

I am taking part in a Parliamentary debate today about male suicide. It is right that this important issue is being properly discussed and I shall be seeking answers from Ministers. As the Campaign against Living Miserably (CALM) has shown in a new survey 42% of men in the UK have considered taking their own life.

Four in 10 of those who contemplated suicide never thought about talking to anyone about it for a variety of reasons including shame (32%), not wanting to sound weak (25%) and not wanting to worry anyone (49%).

Although whenever there is a high-profile case of suicide people are quick to ascribe a ‘reason’ for the death, the fact is we do not properly understand what causes suicide. It is not accurate to say that someone who takes their own life does so for a rational ‘reason’.

However, we can discern certain factors which come before a suicide. One is psychiatric illness, and particularly depression, although only a tiny minority of people with mental illness ever contemplate suicide.

Another, according to psychologists, is certain personality traits such as severe self-criticism and the desire to be perfect. Allied to this is social deprivation and poverty. Research published this week from the University of Liverpool linked nearly 600 suicides to the government’s Work Capability Assessments, and the changes to some of the poorest people’s welfare payments.

A report by Samaritans outlines some of the possible reasons why men are more likely to commit suicide. The report suggests that men compare themselves to a gold standard of masculinity, power and control. They are more likely to feel shame and guilt when they fall from this standard. That’s why there is a link between unemployment and suicide. Unemployed people are two or three times more likely to take their own lives. Shockingly, in recent years suicide in prisons have increased by more than 50%. Every four days a prisoner will take their own life.

Analysis by the Samaritans and others shows that there is also a link between socio-economic class and suicide, with those living in deprived areas on the lowest incomes are the most at risk. Men are more likely take risks with drugs and alcohol. Men are less likely to seek emotional support. These genetic, economic, and cultural factors mean that men are more at risk than women. Gay men are also at more risk – over a third of LGBT young people have attempted suicide at least once.

We need a revolution in the way suicide is prevented. For too long, mental illness has been the source of stigma and prejudice. A few brave public figures such as Stephen Fry, Graham Norton and my parliamentary colleague Kevan Jones MP have spoken up about their own mental illness. But for many, mental health remains hard to speak about openly.

We need a new focus on talking therapies being available throughout the NHS. Employers must play a role in ensuring good mental health in the workplace. We need true ‘parity of esteem’ between mental and physical health.

Most of all, we need a cultural shift so that men can discuss their mental health, seek help, overcome the stereotypes of masculinity placed upon their shoulders, and get the support they need. Each suicide is a terrible tragedy and a waste of a precious life. Together, we can prevent suicide and save the lives of vulnerable young men.

Luciana Berger is the shadow mental health minister, and Labour and Co-operative MP for Liverpool Wavertree

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8740Charges are pending against an assistant principal of a River Grove high school for allegedly sexually abusing a male student.

The president of the school says the victim is a student.

Yesterday, the Guerin College Prep sent home to parents a letter explaining the situation.  The letter identifies the assistant principal by name. But because charges are pending on the 34-year-old, we can not name the suspect.

Guerin College Prep says the assistant principal has been on leave since the allegations first surfaced Sept. 10.

The alleged incident occurred outside of school in the 2600 block of North Sayre Avenue in Chicago

Police say the victim is a 17-year-old male. Steve Baldwin, president of Guerin, released a statement saying:

“We are cooperating with authorities, including (the Department of Children and Family Services) and the Chicago Police Department and will continue to take actions that are in the best interest of our school community.”

The Archdiocese of Chicago also put out a statement saying:

“(They are) aware of the situation and confirm that the situation was properly reported to DCFS. We are monitoring the situation and will continue to cooperate with civil authorities.”

The president of Guerin says the assistant principal was not on school business when the alleged incident occurred and it appears this was an isolated incident.


We are shocked and share the devastation that our service users will feel with the outcome of today’s decision. Our priority now remains as it has always been, to provide support to those who have suffered the trauma of sexual abuse act which have often taken place during their formative periods of their lives.

For many accessing our services found that the system failed them in the past and the criminal justice system is failing them again. Not many will be able to comprehend how each individual will feel after the publication of the Director of Public Prosecution s decision today.

What we can be confident of is that support services such as ourselves and Leicestershire Police will be working tirelessly together to provide survivors with any support they may need in coming to terms with the decision taken. The impact of this decision will be far-reaching for the victims, their families and the Police officers from Leicestershire who have stood solidly together to get to this point.

At all points during this investigation there has been collaboration between the Police and agencies such as ourselves to ensure that support has been on hand at any point and this will continue to be the over-riding focus at this present time.