Four months ago, the Men’s Health Connected online gathering for 2021 opened with a panel discussion featuring key voices in male suicide prevention in Australia.
Dr Zac Seidler, Director of Mental Health at Movember with many years’ experience counselling males and working out how to better engage those who seek help.
The former CEO of LifeLine, Pete Shmigel and the CEO of the Australian Men’s Health Forum Glen Poole, author of Giving Men A Hand: The case for a National Plan to prevent male suicide.
Dr Bernadette Boss, CSC Interim National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention and Christopher Stone, Acting Director, Policy & Government Relations at Suicide Prevention Australia, completed the lineup.
With 7 men a day dying by suicide, the discussion centered around the action, developments, policy and practice that was being done – or not done – to tackle male suicide in Australia.
On September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day 2021, AMHF invites readers to check back on this exceptional, no holds barred discussion in our quest to focus efforts on a targeted response to suicide prevention and recognition that 75% of suicides are male.
WATCH: The national response to male suicide
Following the opening session, Professor Jane Pirkis presented an update on the $5.6 million Buoy Project, a study of male suicide prevention funded by the Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission, with additional input from those closely connected with the project.
WATCH: Researching Male Suicide – The Buoy Project
The afternoon session focused on community-based peer support initiatives that are run by men for men, sharing the impact successful male-friendly initiatives are having from Marcus Mission, Parents Beyond Breakup, MATES in Construction and the Banksia Project.
WATCH: Blokes helping blokes: is involving more men the solution to male suicide?
A month later, on June 14 ahead of Men’s Health Week, AMHF secured a ministerial commitment to fund male suicide prevention programs at its round table event with Government minister, David Coleman MP.
The event marked the launch of AMHF’s new Charter for Men’s Mental Health, developed in response to May’s Federal Budget, which overlooked men’s health in general and male suicide in particular.
“Our research has consistently found that while 3 in 4 suicides are men, up to 4 in 5 clients of taxpayer-funded suicide prevention services are women,” said AMHF CEO Glen Poole.
“Suicide is a clearly a gendered problem, we cannot simply fund gender-blind solutions and hope they will be equally effective for men and women.”
The Charter for Men’s Mental Health sets out seven principles to help governments, funders, commissioners and policy makers to ensure mental health and suicide prevention services are better equipped to support men and boys.