Three in four suicides are men, yet most Government spending on suicide prevention is targeted at women, according to analysis by the Australian Men’s Health Forum (AMHF).
The Government announced $64 million of funding for suicide prevention this week, but most of that money will be spent supporting women at risk of suicide.
Today, AMHF is calling on the Government to undertake an audit to reveal the full scale of the “gender funding gap” in its work to prevent suicide in Australia.
Glen Poole, CEO of AMHF said:
“Suicide kills eight people a day in Australia, on average that’s six men and two women every 24 hours
“The Government has made suicide prevention a national priority and appointed a National Suicide Prevention Adviser, Ms Christine Morgan, to rethink Australia’s approach to suicide prevention.
“We have been encouraged by some of Ms Morgan’s initial recommendations to Government, which includes calls for strategies targeting men at risk of suicide and a greater focus on the life experiences linked to suicide such as financial hardship, relationship issues and dependence on drink and drugs.
“Unfortunately, the call to specifically target male suicide has not been backed by any funding commitments, with most of the money the Government invests in suicide prevention being targeted at women, who account for a quarter of all suicides.
“Australia has led the world in gender responsive budgeting by publishing reports on the impact that Government spending has on women’s lives for nearly 40 years. It’s time for Australia to lead the world again by doing the same for men, starting with the issue of male suicide prevention.
“Today we are calling on the Government to audit the $740.6 million budget it has allocated to suicide prevention in 2019-2020, to assess the scale of the “gender funding gap” and let the public know how much of this funding is reaching men at risk of suicide.
“While we do not advocate for funding to be taken away from women at risk of suicide, most Australians will agree that blokes should be getting a fair share of the Government’s suicide prevention funding, that reflects to the fact that 3 in 4 suicides are male.”
On Thursday, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced $64 million of funding for suicide prevention, as an early response to initial advice from its National Suicide Prevention Adviser. This included:
- $7 million to expand programs like Way Back supporting people who have attempted suicide
- $10 million to expand StandBy Support After Suicide Service
- Unspecified funding to expand headspace's rural and remote youth services
- An additional $1.5 million to Lifeline Australia
- An additional $500,000 to Kids Helpline
According to AMHF’s analysis, based on reports previously published by each of these organisations, the services funded mostly work with women and girls at risk of suicide:
- Up to 80% of StandBy’s clients are female
- 77% of children and young people helped by Kids Helpline are female
- Around 60% of Way Back’s clients are female
- Are 60% of headspace’s clients are female
- Over half of Lifeline callers are female
The Government has also committed $13.4 million to extend the National Suicide Prevention Trial sites, including funding to improve evaluation.
We are calling for some of this funding to be allocated to evaluating how effective the trials around the country have been at targeting a fair share of men at risk of suicide.
DOWNLOAD: Interim Advice Report towards a whole-of-government approach to suicide prevention in Australia (Christine Morgan, National Suicide Prevention Advisor)