The number of men and boys dying by suicide in Australia has risen 30% in the past 10 years, according to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics published this week.
The number of male suicides rose from 1,785 in 2009 to 2,320 in 2018 with an average of 8 Australians a day taking their own lives, six men and two women.
The Australian Men’s Health Forum, the peak body for men’s health, has called for a national action plan to prevent male suicide.
Glen Poole, CEO of AMHF said:
“The Government’s new Men’s Health Strategy identifies male suicide as a key men’s health issue. It calls on all levels of government to take action to address the unique needs of men and boys in the policies they develop, the programs and services they deliver and the initiatives they fund.
“If we want to tackle the unacceptably high levels of male suicide in Australia we need to make sure these principles are applied to the money we invest in suicide prevention. One way to achieve this is to develop a National Male Suicide Action Plan that spells out very clearly how resources will be targeted specifically at supporting men at risk of suicide.”
According to AMHF, the majority of male suicides are not linked to depression and efforts to prevent male suicide need to place more focus on non-clinical interventions that address broader social issues that can put men at risk of suicide.
“The ABS data published this week confirms that more than half of male suicides are not associated with a depressive episode.
“While improving men’s access to mental health services is part of the solution we need to put much more energy into supporting men dealing with life crises such as relationship breakdown and unemployment.
“Alcohol also plays a major role in male suicide, with the ABS statistics confirming that nearly one in three male suicides are linked to mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol and drug use.”
Suicide continues to be the leading kill of men under 45 in Australia though the issue affects men and boys of all ages. Men of working age (25-64) account for 70% of all male suicides and men aged over 85 have the highest rates of male suicide.
Female suicides have also risen in the past decade from 552 in 2009 to 726 in 2018. There was a fall in female suicides of 7% from 2017 where there were 780 female deaths.
In the same period, the number of male suicides also fell slightly by around 1% from 2,348 suicides in 2017 to 2,320 suicides in 2018.
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Read: Male suicides up 10% in 2017 (AMHF)
Take Action: Four Ways You Can Help Us Tackle Male Suicide (AMHF)
ABS DATA: Cause of Death in Australia 2018