The BBC attempts to tackle the subject of young women committing suicide in Canada, and does so in typically garbled fashion. Let’s take a look.
Suicide amongst young women is on the rise. When it comes to mental health, is gender the elephant in the room?
That’s a good question. Let’s see how the BBC answers it.
Across the country, suicide amongst teen girls and young women is on the rise, while male suicide in the same age group declines, according to data released by Statistics Canada on Thursday.
Health experts have long been concerned with the prevalence of suicide amongst young men. It has been called a “silent epidemic” and for good reason. In 2013, men were three times as likely to kill themselves as women, the latest data shows.
But while men are still much more likely to kill themselves in Canada, young women are starting to catch up. Over the past decade, the suicide rate amongst girls has increased by 38%, while male suicide decreased by 34%.
So while men have been killing themselves at three times the rate of women for decades, it becomes a “gender elephant in the room” if the statistics start to converge slightly? Uh-huh.
The growth has helped level out the gender-gap, with women accounting for 42% of all suicide deaths under 20 in 2013. In 2003, they accounted for just over a quarter.
Hmmm. Some absolute numbers would be good here. Has the number of male suicides stayed the same, or dropped? And why cite data from 2013 in an article published in 2017. Updated suicide data can’t be that hard to get hold of. Some proper journalism would be nice.
A 2012 report by the Public Health Agency of Canada urged researchers to look at why suicide had declined in teen boys since the 1980s, but not in girls. With the government expected to earmark considerable funds for mental health in the next annual budget, due in mid-March, health experts are wondering if Canada needs to rethink the role of gender in suicide prevention.
If men are offing themselves, then fuck them and fuck the patriarchy. If the female suicide stats start to pick up a notch, then health experts suddenly become interested in the role of gender. Somebody wants to get their mitts on those funds, don’t they?
“It definitely warrants some really dedicated attention to why there has been such an increase, particularly when we are seeing children and youth dying by suicide,” says Renee Linklater, director of Aboriginal community engagement at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.
Ms Linklater says she’s been concerned about growing suicide rates amongst young indigenous women for some time, and limited data suggests they are more vulnerable than non-indigenous girls. Data obtained by the BBC for 2015 shows that indigenous women are more likely to kill themselves than non-indigenous women.
Could that be cultural, do you think? Surely this is more worthy of further research than the role of gender?
Women made up more than half of all indigenous suicides in 2015, compared to the non-aboriginal population where women made up just one quarter of all suicides. Between 2006 and 2015, the number of female suicides climbed 1.5 times faster in indigenous women than it did for non-indigenous women.
So being an indigenous woman sucks big time and it’s getting worse. Is this more related to gender or culture or a combination of both? Either way, I think the BBC has got its headline wrong.
Ms Linklater says we should be paying more attention to this disparity, and the affects that gender and colonialism have on young indigenous women, whom she says experience “double oppression”.
Colonialism? That doesn’t explain the increase, does it? Or is the colonisation of Canada’s First Nation peoples proceeding apace and nobody told me?
Researchers in Canada and abroad are not sure why suicide is rising amongst young women. Some have suggested it could be because women are using deadlier methods. Others say it might be because coroners are reporting female suicide more.
Random bloggers in Paris suggest filling their heads with third-wave feminist garbage leaving them confused, conflicted, and depressed might have something to do with it.
In Canada, women make three to four times as many suicide attempts as men do. Studies indicate that there is a strong link between a history of sexual abuse and suicide attempts.
If this paragraph appeared a little earlier it would imply that indigenous girls are more frequently subject to sexual abuse. “Let’s not put that there,” said the BBC editor.
Yet gender is rarely discussed when we talk about youth suicide, says Ms Oockay, who works in suicide prevention in Woodstock.
That’s because it’s mainly been men who kill themselves, and who gives a fuck about them?
Arielle Sheftall, a researcher at the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the United States, says that more research is needed into the role that gender and age play in suicide prevalence.
“Research has shown that the age of puberty is getting younger, and the age of onset for psychiatric disorders especially depression, is highly correlated with the age of puberty,” says Ms Sheftall.
Women go through puberty earlier than men, yet is is men who are killing themselves at far higher rates. Still, let’s give Ms Sheftall some taxpayer funds anyway.
Another culprit might be sexism, research into suicide in developing countries suggests. Dr Suzanne Petroni, the senior director for gender, population and development at the International Center for Research on Women, believes that lack of opportunity and rigid gender roles may be to blame for the high rate of young female suicides in developing countries, like India.
Eh? Have gender roles become more or less rigid in places like India over the past few decades? My guess would be less so. In which case, women are more likely to kill themselves as traditional gender roles are relaxed. Would any feminist like to comment on that?
“Rampant sexism, harmful gender norms, perceptions of girls not being valued as anything other than a wife and a mother, very likely is contributing to mental-health problems and suicide,” she told the BBC.
Maybe, but what this has to do with ultra-liberal Canada is anyone’s guess.
These harmful stereotypes, or “visions of what they should be, but aren’t”, have only been amplified by the spread of social media around the globe, Dr Petroni says.
It’s not every day you hear a “senior director for gender, population and development at the International Center for Research on Women” parroting the lines of ultra-conservatives regarding the dangers of exposing “traditional” women to the depravities of the West.
Although Woodstock is far from the developing world, this explanation rings true to Ms Ookcay, who teaches suicide prevention.
“Our youth live in a world that the pressure and stress is way different than it ever has been. I see high levels of perfectionism and the need to be on it all the time, and be the best at everything you do,” she told the BBC.
So Millenials in Ontario are just as oppressed as peasant women in Burkina Faso, only differently. Right.