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Suicide rates spark calls for men's health policy

Five Australian men commit suicide each day compared to just one woman, according to an academic who says the nation urgently needs a national men's health policy.

Suicide rates spark calls for men's health policy
By Kate Corbett
 
19 March 2008

Canberra, AAP - Five Australian men commit suicide each day compared to just one woman, according to an academic who says the nation urgently needs a national men's health policy.

Health professionals, indigenous leaders and key stakeholders met at Parliament House in Canberra today to discuss the need for such a policy.

Before the November election Health Minister Nicola Roxon announced a Labor government would develop a men's health policy to complement the women's policy created 20 years ago.

Professor John Macdonald from the Australasian Men's Health Forum said it was vital men's health was put on the national agenda.

"Five men a day kill themselves in our country, one woman," he told reporters in Canberra.

"That's atrocious - what's the country doing with that now?"

He said it was very old men and those between the ages of 25 and  55 who were killing themselves and there was no national consciousness about it.

"If it were five whales a day … we'd be out there pushing them back into the sea," he said.

"But five males a day, who knows? Who cares? There's something strange happening."

Prof Macdonald said there was an incorrect assumption in the community that men were doing well and didn't need any extra help.

But, he said, a national men's health policy would bring men's issues to the fore and ensure those issues were addressed appropriately.

Psychologist and author Elizabeth Celi said it would be simplistic if that policy just focused on physical problems.

"We are really encapsulating quite a holistic approach of physical, psychological, social and family health when it comes to a national men's health policy," she told reporters.

Dr Celi said simple gender differences on health matters must be recognised.

"There are specific needs that men have with regards to their health.

"And it's something that does need to be acknowledged and recognised on a national level so that as leaders of the country we can all be guided forward with that and really have efficient and effective services to meet their needs."

Prof Macdonald said the problems fathers face when they are separated from their children during family break-ups must also be addressed.

"There's a lot of evidence that that impacts on the stress on your immune system, makes you more vulnerable to not just mental but physical diseases," he said.

The group will report back to Ms Roxon after the meeting and hopes to create a subcommittee to help create the national men's health policy.

- AAP
There are plenty of womens health issues funded out there so why not a mans? the stereotype stiff upper lip has gone by the way.

Good idea LifeInsight - I can already see the TV ad - beached whales and some stats and the question "would you walk away?" followed by beached men, more stats and the question "what about now? will you walk away?"

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.
Jadzia said
"would you walk away?" followed by beached men, more stats and the question "what about now? will you walk away?"
A subtle change but what about:

Followed by beached men, more stats and the question "What about now? Will you still walk away?"
I had that originally MikeT but then thought it might appear to be aimed at women and having a dig at them for leaving a relationship therefore putting the man in a suicidal position.

Then again if we had people moving around the whales to help like they do on other tv shots of beached whales that would diffuse that possibility.

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.
LifeInsight said
Hmm… Jadz good vision. …Any graphic artists out there?
For some ideas I have a feeling DiDS have used a stranded whale… You may want to trawl around their web site or even Green Peace who have a whale rescue operation in New Zealand if I recall.

The conference held in Canberra was about a new holistic approach to men's health as opposed to "Suicide" prevention.

I think there will be a lot more posts about that conference in coming days.

Site Director

DIDS "Save the Males" Poster

LifeInsight said
Hmm… Jadz good vision. …Any graphic artists out there?
The quote referring to whales was possibly informed by the
Dads in Distress (DIDS)
ERROR: A link was posted here (url) but it appears to be a broken link.
'Save the Males' image and poster.

The photo was taken by Belinda Mason-Lovering.

Here it is as an image on it's own:

ERROR: A link was posted here (img) but it appears to be a broken link.
5 male suicides every day in Australia - www.dadsindistress.asn.au

Here it is as a poster:

Save the Males

Family Breakdown and Suicide in Australia

Also see Walter Schneider's Fathers for Life site for more details and statistics about suicide in Australia:

Family Breakdown and Suicide in Australia

Suicide rates in countries throughout the world

He also has a copy of the DIDS Save the Males poster.
The men's health issue is important and complex.

While there are clearly problems with suicide rates I think much of the underlying health issues are the mental health issues.

While beyond blue failed to focus on a men's health strategy, and they even redefined the problem to be "despair" and NOT "depression" (and hence not a "mental illness" that a doctor could diagnose),  someone needs to look at these things.

If men are despairing and committing suicide - then this IS a health problem.

It's my view that the whole health of our society depends on getting EVERYONE being healthy, positive, happy, and looking forward to a future of some sort.

So let's not limit the health debate to the deaths or diseases (as defined by a doctor) but also look at the potential signs:

1) Lack of sleep (is there anyone left who sleeps all night?)

2) Alcohol excess

3) Drug excess

4) Fertility (a sign of healthy bodies)

5) Food habits and quality

6) Medicine consumption (and growing all the time)

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
Wow - thanks, I must have seen it somewhere and recalled it out of the unexplored depths of my mind.

A lot on male suicide has been seen on TV here in rural NSW in relation to the drought, pushing for awareness of the signs and also imploring men/farmers to go for assistance.

Have there been studies done on the causes of suicide? There is a list of life changing events and the level of impact it has on a person - divorce rates very high in that list.

A study on the causes and their relativity would be invaluable in targeting areas that need to be addressed. For example family break up would probably be high up on the list - marking that as an area needing reform in specific ways.

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.

Sytemic bias against men causing mental health issues

1. With regard to separation I believe that the issue/problem for most men is hopelessness and despair, which 'naturally' leads to depression.  This is only to be expected of anyone who has all they love and own removed from them, are made homeless and lose a great deal of control of their own lives (all supported and enforced by the State).

2. I tend to see Jon's "signs" more as consequences of the underlying cause, then as a cause themselves.

3. The cause I see as a systemic bias against men and fathers.  The 'system' (elite) don't want to see or admit to this systemic bias because to do so would open a can of worms in terms of their contribution to and responsibility for it.  The effects of this systemic bias are the hopelessness and despair separated fathers feel. And these ARE mental health issues.
Jon Pearson said
The men's health issue is important and complex.

While there are clearly problems with suicide rates I think much of the underlying health issues are the mental health issues.

…..

1) Lack of sleep (is there anyone left who sleeps all night?)

2) Alcohol excess

3) Drug excess

4) Fertility (a sign of healthy bodies)

5) Food habits and quality

6) Medicine consumption (and growing all the time)
Jon a very good commentary. The day we had in Canberra on Wednesday focused mainly on getting a 6 point go forward list up for Government to start the ball rolling in delivery of the promise made in November last year to establish a "National Men's Health Policy and Programme". The group did go into much detail, specifically however that Men, fathers and Boy's health issues did not focus soley on only a few stereo type issues such as Prostrate etc. but Dr Tim O'Neil listed the following which were discussed as needing to be placed into the detailed program for follow up.

 Dr Tim O'Neil

Issues to be considered by Office of Men's Health  

Personal Formation

Mentoring of fathers

Men's Inward Identity and Alienation

Early Intervention for boys at risk… schools based programs


Indigenous Health   

Indigenous Men's Identity Formation

Social Breakdown

Men's support

Men and Families

Learning to be a Father

Making it easier for families to stay together and harder to break up.

Family Breakdown and Child support

             A Presumption of Equal Parenting time

             A fair and equitable system for all

Social Breakdown

Suicide prevention

Homelessness

Male sole parent support

Men's Physical Health

Preventative illness

Chronic Disease

Specific Men?s Physical Health Issues
dad4life said
1. With regard to separation I believe that the issue/problem for most men is hopelessness and despair, which 'naturally' leads to depression.  This is only to be expected of anyone who has all they love and own removed from them, are made homeless and lose a great deal of control of their own lives (all supported and enforced by the State).
The issue of homlessness was raised also the week before at the FaCSIA CSNSEG meeting. It is clearly becoming a bigger problem (LA DiDS) at the coal face. Despair after having police remove on a 30 day intervention and subsequent loss of residence is a major fundemental issue that is extremly difficult to address in the immediate term through the draconian changes to NSW and Victorian DV legislation (Posted elsewhere here)




Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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Posts from this topic have been moved by members. 2 posts have been transferred to topicview.

Site Director
Yes but it has also had a lot of coverage - the drought and effects on farmers I mean.  

The only people who seem to cover male suicide caused by society in our media seems to be programs like A Current Afair, who are not averse to pointing fingers.

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.
LifeinSight said
The other question I am thinking is, will we see a decrease in suicides post June 08 when C$A's new formula starts?
I don't believe that you will see either an increase or decrease or anything as I don't think statistics on suicide are published any more.
I think government could be worried by how people see their lack of support for men's health issues in the past and the risk that things like the family court system, csa and other agencies which have dealt with men may be responsible for great damage. For example while there are some high profile groups who get and claim compensation from governments for their actions - if there was a link made between death and government systems then this would link closely to the idea of systematic government abuse causing death.

One big issue (rightly pointed out) is the CONTINUED LACK OF AWARENESS - the turning the blind eye - despite obvious death, misery and destruction - which ALL of the politicians have been made very well aware of over the years. It may not have been politically appropriate to address those issues in their mind at the time.

A continued lack of action by governments represents group if not individual culpability in my mind.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
Yes, statistics, even though invariably inaccurate, are available.

The latest census has some figures and most state police publish stats if you know where to look.
Editor said
Pity "Guest" did not advise a link to the figures from state police published stats
I spoke to a police friend of mine who said that they discourage media coverage of suicides, the idea is it could reduce the amount of suicides by desperate people who may be influenced by realistic coverage, more coverage more people have the idea put in their heads.

This same principal can be used in reverse, the more coverage the more people accept there is a problem and it is recognised by the general public as being a real problem, programs like " Australia say's no " utilize this concept.

It may well be a way to reduce pragmatic suicides but does little to interject funds to elevate the problem and discover why it has become an increasing trend with in youth.

No doubt if the figures supported that the major loss were women more would be done.


 
I agree with you D4E.

It seems that males are one group who don't have any right to complain and raise their concerns - despite how atrocious the issues.

Part of the problem with the cult of VICTIM as the media and governments do it is that:

1) They seem to need this public outcry or victim model to do anything

2) Only selected groups are allowed to be victims - everyone else has to get on with it - no matter how bad  it is.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
jon,
at a recent meeting with my local MP who happens to also be the AG, i conveyed the message that mental illness as a direct result of divorce and going to court is a contributing factor in suicide i also pointed out that 5 men a day commit suicide and we are in urgent need of a mens health policy?

his reply to that was 'dont be silly there's plenty of support out there for men', such as? i asked, mens line! he replied, i expressed my dissapointment then left.

He wont be getting my vote next election along with the remaining 8 members of my family!

Jadzia, There is a study being done by Professor Diego De Leo from Griffith University.
The Marital and De Facto Separation Study

Funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), 2005-2008

Marriage or De Facto separation can be extremely stressful and often causes significant emotional distress. It has also been reported that the separation process plays an important role in the development of suicidal behaviours. However little is known about what causes the most distress and at what point during the separation process. This information is crucial for the development of appropriate support for people who are going through separation.

The Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP), Griffith University is conducting a study which looks at the impact of separation on men's psychological health and development of suicidal behaviours. This study has ethical clearance from the Griffith University Human Ethics Committee (CSR/03/04/HREC).

The participation recruitment phase of the study has now closed. Thank you very much for your support.
A summary of the study results will hopefully be available on this web page in August this year.


Contact Details

Email: maritalstudy@griffith.edu.au Postal Address: Griffith University
Reply Paid 61015
170 Kessels Road
Nathan Qld 4111  
I asked him if DVO's and AVO's could be linked as a contributing factor as they can cut all contact between parents and children thus putting more complications in the whole separation issue, it happened to me but thats a topic for a different forum and I will get there one day

Last edit: by OneRingRules


If you don't talk about it, how can anyone help you move forward!
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