Social factors are key drivers of male suicide and should be prioritised in a developing a male suicide prevention strategy, says the Australian Men’s Health Forum.
The peak body for men’s health is calling for a gender-tailored response to reducing male suicide in Australia, where 76% of all deaths by suicide are male, six a day.
The 5 risk factors for male suicide are:
1. Relationships: The majority of men who kill themselves are either not in a relationship or recently separated. Research shows that nearly 3 in 10 male suicides are linked to separation and as many as half of all separated fathers experience thoughts of suicide.
2. Work/Unemployment. The majority of people who die by suicide are not employed and 3 in 10 suicides are associated with unemployment. Unemployed men are 2.5 x more likely to die by suicide than unemployed women and nearly 10 x more likely to die by suicide than men in employment. Common factors in work-related suicides include stress, conflict and bullying. Those in lower-skilled occupations such as manual labour, machine operators and farm workers have a higher risk of suicide than highly skilled occupations.
3. Finances: As many as 1 in 5 male suicides are linked to financial issues and male suicide is 5 times more likely to be linked to finances than female suicide. It is well established that male suicide in particular increases during economic downturns.
4. Men’s Health. Around 50% of men who die by suicide have at least one physical health issue and men with a disability are a higher risk group that are generally overlooked in suicide prevention initiatives. Mental health issues account for 2 in 3 suicides linked to a mental health diagnosis. Signs of depression in men, which are associated with 1 in 3 male suicides, are often missed by health professionals.
5. Alcohol and other drugs. According to the Australian Burden of Disease study, men account for 87% of the loss of life and health from alcohol-related suicides. Around 40% of male suicides are linked to alcohol and other drug problems, with men accounting for 4 out of 5 suicides associated with alcohol and substance abuse. Men in general are more likely to engage in risky drinking than women with more than half (54.2%) engaging in risky drinking at least once a year. Some researchers have described alcohol reduction at a population level as the most effective male suicide prevention intervention.
On Thursday September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day, AMHF will publish Giving Men a Hand: The case for a male suicide prevention strategy, which outlines the case for gender-response to suicide prevention.
“Australia needs a plan that directs funding at support services designed with men in mind and gives more men a hand to get involved in preventing male suicide,” says AMHF.
FURTHER READING ABOUT MALE SUICIDE IN AUSTRALIA
The Attorney General Christian Porter today announced legislation to pave the way for a National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention.Read more
Men’s Health Week for 2020 has passed and with it the overriding message that more conversations are needed between men and boys to encourage wellbeing.Read more
Why is it important to have policy, framework and strategy for male suicide? The question was put to four speakers on Day 3 of the Men’s Health Connected online summit by chair and mental health advocate, Pete Shmigel.Read more
Winter has arrived and with it the first event of the month-long online Men’s Health Connected summit focusing on male suicide.Read more
With the rapid escalation of unemployment flowing out of the COVID-19 crisis, the Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre at the Western Sydney University is reinforcing a situational approach to tackling male suicide.Read more