The Queensland Government has committed to “making men’s suicide prevention a priority” and will work with men’s health leaders as part of a renewed drive to reduce suicide.
The commitment has been made in Every life: The Queensland Suicide Prevention Plan 2019-2029, which acknowledges that while suicide can affect all people, 3 in 4 suicides in Australia are male and men aged 25–54 years account for 45 per cent of all suicides in Queensland.
The renewed suicide prevention plan aims to take a whole-of-government approach and is structured around four priority action areas:
- Building resilience
- Reducing vulnerability
- Enhancing responsiveness
- Working together
The number one goal named under the “reducing vulnerability” theme is a commitment to “making men’s suicide prevention a priority”.
Four specific actions have been identified to help tackle male suicide in Queensland: a systemic review of male suicides in Australia; working with male-dominated industries; engaging with men’s health leaders and tackling veteran suicide.
Systemic Review of Male Suicides
The Queensland Mental Health Commission will lead a systemic review of suicides among men in Queensland to inform a comprehensive strategy for men’s suicide prevention. This includes exploring potential opportunities for reducing suicides in the context of relationships, employment, family law and problematic alcohol and other drug use.
Working With Male Dominated Industries
The Queensland Mental Health Commission will work to maintain and extend partnerships with suicide prevention organisations and Queensland industry to support the reduction of suicide in male-dominated and higher risk workforces and industries, including transport, manufacturing, construction, agriculture and healthcare.
Engaging With Men’s Health Leaders
The Queensland Mental Health Commission will engage with leaders in men’s health to explore and support new suicide prevention initiatives that address drivers for male suicide. This work will have a special focus on those known to be most vulnerable to suicide (e.g. men in the construction, primary industries and resources sectors; in rural and remote areas; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men; veterans; older men; men experiencing relationship breakdown) and key touch points for vulnerable men.
Tackling Veteran Suicide
The Queensland Mental Health Commission will work with the Australian Government and other community partners to support planning, development and implementation of suicide reduction strategies specifically designed to support veterans, including those transitioning from service.
As well as specifically targeting men as a high-risk group, the 10-year plan identifies a number of male populations at increased risk of suicide.
For example, the plan acknowledges that male suicide rates are higher in rural and remote areas, double the rate recorded in metropolitan areas and that specific male groups, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, elderly men, men with mental illness, and men who have been marginalised, including gay and bisexual men, are at an elevated risk.
The plan also notes that the suicide rate for male asylum seekers is approximately 33 per 100,000, which is significantly higher than for males in the general population.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the clearest commitment that any state or territory government across Australia has made to tackling male suicide. If you are aware of other examples of regional strategies focused on male suicide we’d love to hear from you.
TAKE ACTION FOR MEN'S HEALTH
Read: Queensland Suicide Prevention Plan 2019-2029 (PDF)
Read Position Paper:The Need For Male Friendly Approaches To Suicide Prevention In Australia (AMHF)
View Presentation:How To Develop A Male-Friendly Approach To Suicide Prevention (AMHF)
Read: New report reveals shocking male suicide statistics (AMHF)