WA males account for 80% of suicides in the state, among other troublingly disproportionate trends

SPOKANE, Wash. — Suicide, incarceration, homelessness, and overdose deaths are just a few of the topics disproportionately led by the male population in Washington state. These figures are coming more into the spotlight courtesy of HB 1270, a proposed piece of legislation re-evaluating the well-being of young boys and men in the state.

According to the bill, males in Washington account for the following:

  1. 63% of the homeless population
  2. 67% of overdose deaths.
  3. 88% of county, city or tribal jail populations.
  4. 94% of population in Dept. of Corrections facilities.

This piece of legislation, should it pass, will create an institution center designed to research the roots of these problems, along with the solutions necessary to fix them.

“It seems to me we really need an institutional focal point to start evaluating why these data points are what they are,” said Rep. Mary Dye, the author of the bill.

According to therapist and author Michael Gurian, a major component behind these male-dominated numbers stems from what he calls ‘the abandonment of male development.’

“Boys need a certain development to turn our well,” said Gurian. “What we’re ending up with is boys who are traumatized, boys who are addicted, boys who are so severely connected to media and digital they can’t get free and they can’t fully develop.”

One driving factor behind this trauma includes attachment disorders, which can often stem from single parent households. For young men in particular, households without a father.

“The loss of the father, that’s what we call loss of father attachment,” said Gurian. “That causes trauma, the issue is not the mom it’s the loss of that key developmental piece.”

James Bureau can attest, who battled drug addiction and homelessness.

“At first I was living in my car which was hard to do, then I ended up losing my car, having parked it in the wrong place,” said Bureau. “I started camping, then it got really cold.”

These problems, he says, rooted from a challenging childhood.

“As I got older, I was running from wounds,” said Bureau. “I grew up with out a dad, just not a very good childhood.”

His life is since back on track, something he attributes to the Union Gospel Mission. He says many who are homeless have a similar backstory.

As for solutions, Dr. Gurian suggests investing in education and mental health opportunities for boys. Should this legislation be passed, these research centers could be implemented as early as this summer.