The case for a National Male Suicide Prevention Strategy
The Australian Men's Health Forum is calling on the Government to develop a national plan to prevent male suicide.
In a new report published on World Suicide Prevention Day, Thursday 10 September 2020, AMHF says the Government is spending $5 billion a year on mental health services but the money isn’t reaching men at risk of suicide.
The solution, says the report, is for the Government to develop a National Plan to Prevent Male Suicide that directs funding at male-friendly services and gets more men involved in preventing suicide.
Glen Poole, CEO of the Australian Men’s Health Forum, said:
“Suicide is killing 8 people a day in Australia, 6 men and 2 women. Closing the gap between male suicide and female suicide would save 1,500 lives a year. Yet most work to prevent suicide ignores the differences between men and women and most suicide prevention funding supports services that are better at preventing female suicide.
“We know that men’s and women’s experiences of suicide are different. Male suicides are more often associated with relationship problems, money issues, job loss and alcohol abuse, whereas female suicides are more likely to be linked to mental illness and previous suicide attempts.
“We need a national plan to ensure that funding is specifically targeted at services designed with men in mind. We also need more men to be part of the solution.
“For too long, women have shouldered the burden of working to prevent male suicide.The time has come to give more men a hand to step up and get involved in male suicide prevention.”
Earlier this year, a Productivity Commission inquiry concluded that there has been “no significant and sustained reduction in the death rate from suicide over the past decade, despite ongoing efforts to make suicide prevention more effective”.
The Morrison government has set itself an ambitious target of working towards a zero suicide goal.
According to AMHF’s new report, sector experts say that preventing male suicide would go further than any other approach to achieving this goal.
The report also highlights advice given to the Prime Minister by the National Suicide Prevention Adviser, Christine Morgan, which argued that men are one of the groups “known to be more vulnerable to suicide and providing effective approaches to suicide prevention for them is a priority”.
A call to tackle male suicide has also been made by Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA), the national peak body for the suicide prevention sector. In March this year, SPA asked the Government to adopt “a male suicide prevention strategy as a core stream within the national suicide prevention strategy, with funding and accountability attached to measures”.
“In recent years we’ve made good progress in tackling some of the biggest killers of men, such as heart disease, cancers and road accidents, but the national drive to reduce the number of suicides in Australia isn’t working. This is why we need a National Plan that targets funding directly at male suicide and gives men and men’s services a hand to get more involved in preventing suicide.”