Psychiatrist and media commentator Dr Tanveer Ahmed has called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take action to prevent male suicide in Australia.
Speaking on Sky News Dr Ahmed said:
“There aren’t easy answers or silver bullets, but this weeks’ suicide figures scream out for a greater more specific focus on men. If the Morrison government wants to make progress in their goal of zero suicides, they need to target their funding to male-specific initiatives.
“Suicide is hugely complex and we’re getting better at de-medicalising it. Unlike women, most men who die at their own hands, don’t have a history of mental illness or past attempts.
“There’s a stronger link with job loss, child custody battles or alcohol and gambling. What we’re not doing is recognising that suicide is mostly a male problem and targeting funding, messaging and policy accordingly.
"There’s recognition when we talk about issues like domestic violence that women are predominantly the victims. The same doesn’t happen with suicide. How much of this is because we just can’t see men as victims [and] the age old stereotype of women having problems and men being problems."
Dr Ahmed challenged the view that “blokes need to be more like women” and get better at “seeking help through traditional outlets like counselling”.
Instead, he argued, there “should be an onus on organisations to target blokes better, go to where they are and also do a better job of recruiting men into caregiving roles.”
Mateship and peer support, for example, have deep roots in the Australian psyche. Male-only spaces are important, he stated, and we must resist the cultural pressure to feminise.
Many of the points made by Dr Ahmed support the case for a national plan to prevent male suicide outlined by the Australian Men’s Health Forum in its recent report – Giving Men A Hand.