Suicide among male farmers is frequently discussed in the literature. While a wide range of factors are associated, a coherent theoretical framework that incorporates the various factors associated with male farmer suicide has not been developed. Moreover, the insights offered to date have not opened a more systemic approach to prevention. Drawing on substantive contributions from sociological theory, this paper proposes a framework for progressing understanding of the causes of this phenomenon and offers insights for prevention. The paper argues that ontological security is central to identity and social competence, and that loss of the coherency of identity and the potential loss of a continuity of social practice result in a ruptured identity. The combined effects of reluctance to acknowledge difficulties, the misperception of one’s problems, and experiences of shame contribute strongly to nihilism and the will to suicide. This framework is considered in light of case study material on suicide among Australian farmers. The paper concludes by giving consideration about how these insights may be translated into existing suicide prevention programs.

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