Family and friends are key to preventing suicide in men, suggested University of B.C. researchers who are examining the role that ideas of masculinity play in depression.

Researchers John Oliffe and John Ogrodniczuk found that the masculine ideas of provider and protector helped potentially suicidal men.

Another idea of masculinity, however, that of the “stoic warrior,” led men to mute their feelings, disconnect from others and overuse drugs and alcohol.

“Instead of finding respite from their emotional, mental and physical pain, self-harm emerged as the most common outcome of these actions,” Ogrodniczuk said.

Researchers interviewed 38 men with depression living in Vancouver and Prince George between 24 and 50. Suicide rates among men are at least three times higher than those of women.

In 2003, 2,900 men killed themselves. The highest rate is in men 20 to 29. Researchers suggest that the best counter to suicidal thoughts is through connecting with others to regain stability.

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