Kaplan Explains Rising Suicide Rates Among Middle-Aged Men

Professor of Social Welfare Mark Kaplan was featured in a Real Issue Productions film about the rise of mass shootings and the controversies surrounding the national gun debate. “The role of social status and suicide, particularly among males, is gaining attention,” Kaplan said. He explained that the mortality rate among white middle-aged men is rising, largely in part to an increase in suicide rates. As the middle class shrinks, many have lost their jobs and feel humiliated and unhappy — particularly less educated men who feel disenfranchised and abandoned by society. Suicide and mental illness are highly stigmatized in the United States, Kaplan said, noting that “people don’t like to talk about their mental health problems.” Even if guns are taken away, some people still may attempt suicide but “if they do, they are less likely to do so with highly lethal means,” Kaplan said. The film is available for viewing via the UCLA Library.

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