On average, nine Australians take their own lives every day. Seven of them are men.
Men’s Health Week this year focuses on encouraging connections with the goal of helping people make a positive difference.
In 2019, more than 3,300 people nationwide died by suicide, with 75 percent of men. It remains the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15 and 44.
Dr. Neil Hall of Western Sydney University’s Center for Male Health says it is particularly important for men and boys to make contact with family, community and healthy cultures during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Connecting with family is an important protective factor for good mental health and well-being,” he said.
” A conversation between friends can be the beginning of something positive.
“It could be by offering an opportunity to create awareness, by picking up the phone to a loved one, or by sharing resources and information.”
Hall, who has been a social work academic for more than 20 years, said he saw a ‘generational shift’ of younger men emerging to seek help.
He said a recent survey of teenage boys in Sydney found that half were not uncomfortable talking about their feelings and that one in five mental health or mood issues, a figure corresponding to the wider population.
“One of the things we’re starting to see is that the stigma associated with mental health issues is diminishing,” he said.
‘In the last five years, there has been a surge in the number of community support groups for men.
“We estimate there are 300 in the whole country, whereas ten years ago there were perhaps ten.”
However, he said there was a lack of money-specific mental health funding from the government, including in the May federal budget.
“A lot of money has rightly been poured into mental health and suicide prevention,” he said.
‘But not once in the documentation of suicide prevention were men specifically mentioned. This should be a review, as 75 percent of all suicides are men. ”
The Australian Men’s Barn Association wants men to make an appointment with their partners during Men’s Health Week, which starts on Monday.
“You’re never too old to get something out of the group of friends – whether they’re been around for a day, or whether they’re new connections,” said David Helmers, chief executive.
‘The empirical evidence is clear. Social participation is positively linked to mental well-being and quality of life, especially among older people. ”
By Ethan James