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Rudd Government Men's Health Initiatives

The Rudd Government will develop Australia's first national men's health policy- recognising men have poorer health than women, are likely to die earlier and are at greater risk of suicide.

Rudd to make men's health a top issue

By Anthony Deceglie

The Rudd Government will develop Australia's first national men's health policy- recognising men have poorer health than women, are likely to die earlier and are at greater risk of suicide.   

The policy, to be finalised in 2009, will address the delivery of medical services for all Australian men.  It will have a prevention focus, will address behavioural risk factors, and make health services more male-friendly.   

"Men's health is too often overlooked as an issue," said Health Minister Nicola Roxon.   

"We know that men face a specific set of challenges and we are determined to help men tackle them."   

Australian men have a life expectancy that is five years shorter than women and experience 70 per cent of the burden of disease related to injury.   

The health of indigenous men is worse than any other group with an average life expectancy of only 59 - 20 years less than non-indigenous males.   

Over the next 12 months, the Rudd Government aims to consult consumers, health providers, and state and territory governments to shape the policy.   

A forum will be held in Canberra later this year.

Further details from The Mercury Newspaper website
The Rudd Government will spend $460,000 on a national suicide prevention strategy, as part of a focus to improve men's health.

In what the Government says is the first ever national men's health policy, it recognises that men often have poorer health than women, are likely to die earlier and are more likely to commit suicide.

The funding will be spent in four areas - $122,000 for a men's health information and resource centre at the University of Western Sydney and $80,000 will go to the Toowoomba older men's network.

Another $150,000 will be used in a workplace program called OzHelp Tasmania, and $117,000 will go towards INCOLink, a Victorian program aimed at preventing suicide for apprentices in the building industry.

A further $95,000 will go towards a GP campaign to encourage men to see their doctor for preventative health checks.

"Men's health deserves our attention. Over the next twelve months, the Government will develop a comprehensive men's health policy," Health Minister Nicola Roxon said.

"We want to know what men consider to be the priorities for their health, and we want to look at how we can build up the evidence base in this area, including opportunities for research over the long term."

Figures released by the Health Minister's office show men are expected to live 4.8 years less than women, and are three times more likely to commit suicide than women.

They also experience 70 per cent of the burden of disease related to injury and are over-represented in HIV/AIDS related deaths.

Indigenous men's health is significantly worse than non-Indigenous Australian males, with average life expectancy of just 59 years, 20 years less than non-Indigenous me.



I think this is a good directive  but would pose the question that due to the lack of information on suicides (no reasons are given on the ABS statistics) and in light of the recent investigation of Operation Centurion, how many male suicides could be attributed to being caught in possession of child pornography?
                                                          Thank you Mr RUDD!

Was this grant politically motivated?   the attached document goes to show what men are really worth.. NOTHING……



Attachment

monaro said
 Thank you Mr RUDD!

Was this grant politically motivated?
Quite likely.

It was a response to the hard work of men who care about other men and lobbied for it.

Well done guys - thank you!!
 
monaro said
the attached document goes to show what men are really worth.. NOTHING……
 
Monaro

Can we have the name of the author and the references please?

Ta much.



How much does Family Breakdown and related issues contibute to Male (and Female) Suicide

A few years ago the University of Queensland published a report which suggested family breakdown was a contributing factor in 80% of male suicides.

There has been a general trend to relate Suicide to "current" mental health problems. Mental health is considered to be a contributing factor in mosty suicides.

What may have been lost in the rush for a "Men's Health" policy is the fact that often the development of mental health problems such as Cronic Depression can be directly related to the ongonig stressors present in a persons life.

Family breakdown often includes a combination of what are considered High Level Stressor.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
BriarRose said
monaro said
 Thank you Mr RUDD! Was this grant politically motivated?
Quite likely.

It was a response to the hard work of men who care about other men and lobbied for it.

Well done guys - thank you!!
Yes indeed a lot of lobbying from a number of groups. The most importnat event that turned the scales on this was the Canberra conference organised by our good friend Warwick Marsh , Fatherhood Foundation. Read all about that conference here. I presume you have seen the reports in the news section under "Articles".

BriarRose said
monaro said
the attached document goes to show what men are really worth.. NOTHING……
Monaro

Can we have the name of the author and the references please?

Ta much.
The attached document has a number of typos and I can only get two pages of a multi page report to display. Where did the document come from Monaro? It does not appear to be complete.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
$460,000!!

What a Joke when they spend $200,000,000+ on womens health!

$460,000 - That will achieve nothing except to deceive to unthinking people.  
oneadadc said
A few years ago the University of Queensland published a report which suggested family breakdown was a contributing factor in 80% of male suicides.
Do you have a copy of that report that can be uploaded to the library

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 

I will see if I can find it

My copy of that report predates a "format C" - I will see if I can find it again.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
oneadadc said
What may have been lost in the rush for a "Men's Health" policy is the fact that often the development of mental health problems such as Cronic Depression can be directly related to the ongonig stressors present in a persons life.

Family breakdown often includes a combination of what are considered High Level Stressor.
 
This study from Griffith University sounds promising to me. It is obviously not based on suicide data per se, but it gets to the heart of the matters you raised.

 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



Professor De Leo said

Men Behaving Sadly

About 2,400 Australians die from suicide annually, with 10 to 20 times more attempting to take their own lives, sometimes resulting in serious injury.

Men experiencing relationship breakdown, separation and divorce are a key 'at risk' group, with 30 per cent of all fatal male suicidal behaviour being associated with relationship breakdown/separation in the previous year.

The Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) is leading research into this critical time in many men's lives.
Shedding Light on Suicide Triggers

Led by Professor Diego De Leo, the research team is examining the psychological and sociological factors that contribute to men thinking about and attempting suicide.

"Separation has a powerful impact on the level of suicide risk," Professor De Leo said.

"Relationship breakdown and separation are the strongest predictor of suicide attempts and serious thoughts about suicide. The highest risk stage for male suicide is during separation, with suicide mortality increasing 6.2 times."

Professor De Leo said the problem was likely to increase with rising divorce rates and the breakdown of de facto relationships.

"Our study investigates the broad structural factors and individual psychological mechanisms involved in suicidal behaviours by studying the characteristics of separated individuals who have planned, attempted or completed suicide," he said.

"Separation can impact on suicide in several ways: as a stressful event that's beyond the man's coping resources, as a reduction in normalcy, as an emotional loss, and as a breakdown in social networks.

"A variety of apparently relationship-oriented factors may also increase the suicide risk such as self-blame, social introversion, low self-efficacy, depression, poor interpersonal skills, and interpersonal problem-solving deficits."
What It Means to 'Be a Man'

Professor De Leo is also examining a hypothesised link between suicide and traditional notions of masculinity, including men not showing emotion, inhibited emotional expressiveness, aggression and risk-taking in response to stress, avoidant coping and not seeking help.

As well as building a psychological profile of men most at risk, he is exploring contributing sociological factors.

"We know, for example, that the reduction in income that often accompanies separation is related to male suicide but not female suicide," Professor De Leo said.

"The study will identify the external and internal factors that impact upon marital breakdown and examine how they are modified by gender and age.

"It will provide government and non-government service providers with scientific evidence about the factors influencing suicidal behaviours resulting from separation to drive future policy and help reshape counselling and legal services."

Professor De Leo is Professor of Psychopathology and Suicidology and Director of the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention at Griffith University, Brisbane.

Prof. De Leo is Past President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention and Past President of the International Academy for Suicide Research.

Member of the Editorial boards for several internationally renowned refereed journals, Prof. De Leo has published extensively with 160 refereed journal articles, 120 book chapters, and 25 books published in the past 20 years and over 100 conference presentations in total. Winner of 6 international awards, in 1997 was appointed Director of the first WHO Collaborating Centre for Training and Research in Suicide Prevention.
oneadadc said
A few years ago the University of Queensland published a report which suggested family breakdown was a contributing factor in 80% of male suicides.

There has been a general trend to relate Suicide to "current" mental health problems. Mental health is considered to be a contributing factor in mosty suicides.

What may have been lost in the rush for a "Men's Health" policy is the fact that often the development of mental health problems such as Cronic Depression can be directly related to the ongonig stressors present in a persons life.

Family breakdown often includes a combination of what are considered High Level Stressor.
 
I would like to see that report as well.  I would imagine getting interviewed by the Aust federal Police for downloading kiddie porn would be considered a High Level Stressor.

The Rudd government Grant has also identified the problem with indigenous males which is supported by the statistics for suicide so this is a step in the right direction.
BriarRose,

I obtained this info from a website called  "AUSTRALIAN MEN'S HEALTH  NETWORK" , if you google 'value of men's lives in australia' you will find it, the first clip on the page,

Even though this site is is not current, it shows not much has changed since then - men are still being shafted….

Partial Success

The research came out of the Australian Institute for Suicide Prevention and Research. Part of Griffith University.

http://www.griffith.edu.au/school/psy/aisrap/

The page says it is past it's use by date and currently under review. It is not the same page as I originally looked at.

But borrowing the text from their page "men behaving Sadly"

About 2,400 Australians die from suicide annually, with 10 to 20 times more attempting to take their own lives, sometimes resulting in serious injury.

Men experiencing relationship breakdown, separation and divorce are a key 'at risk' group, with 30 per cent of all fatal male suicidal behaviour being associated with relationship breakdown/separation in the previous year.

The Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) is leading research into this critical time in many men's lives.

Shedding Light on Suicide Triggers

Led by Professor Diego De Leo, the research team is examining the psychological and sociological factors that contribute to men thinking about and attempting suicide.

"Separation has a powerful impact on the level of suicide risk," Professor De Leo said.

"Relationship breakdown and separation are the strongest predictor of suicide attempts and serious thoughts about suicide. The highest risk stage for male suicide is during separation, with suicide mortality increasing 6.2 times."

Professor De Leo said the problem was likely to increase with rising divorce rates and the breakdown of de facto relationships.

"Our study investigates the broad structural factors and individual psychological mechanisms involved in suicidal behaviours by studying the characteristics of separated individuals who have planned, attempted or completed suicide," he said.

"Separation can impact on suicide in several ways: as a stressful event that's beyond the man's coping resources, as a reduction in normalcy, as an emotional loss, and as a breakdown in social networks.

"A variety of apparently relationship-oriented factors may also increase the suicide risk such as self-blame, social introversion, low self-efficacy, depression, poor interpersonal skills, and interpersonal problem-solving deficits."

What It Means to 'Be a Man'

Professor De Leo is also examining a hypothesised link between suicide and traditional notions of masculinity, including men not showing emotion, inhibited emotional expressiveness, aggression and risk-taking in response to stress, avoidant coping and not seeking help.

As well as building a psychological profile of men most at risk, he is exploring contributing sociological factors.

"We know, for example, that the reduction in income that often accompanies separation is related to male suicide but not female suicide," Professor De Leo said.

"The study will identify the external and internal factors that impact upon marital breakdown and examine how they are modified by gender and age.

"It will provide government and non-government service providers with scientific evidence about the factors influencing suicidal behaviours resulting from separation to drive future policy and help reshape counselling and legal services." 

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
Aphrodite.

As a women, it might be difficult to grasp this, since, divorce and seperation rarely increase women's risk of suicide at all. Why not? Because women are more likely to have custody and residency of the children - someone to love them and need them. Remember that people who feel loved and needed rarely commit suicide?

And women develop support systems. Women's traditional support systems support women being "vulnerable"; men's traditional support system support men being "invulnerable". This creates a paradox: the support men get to be invulnerable makes them vulnerable.

Expressing feelings of vulnerabilty brings women affection and men rejection. So men's support systems support men being invulnerable - the result?

I support the idea of mens health initiatives and congratulate all who got it moving. Anything which can improve the physical and mental health and wellbeing of men will help all Australians. It will be the start of trying to be a country which values equality and a fair go.

Anything which can lift the expectations of men, remove the constant socital put downs and negative images and stereotypes will help our young men grow into valued and appreciated members of society - with every right to a fair treatment - after all we depend on men to do SO MUCH which some unfortunates seem to take for granted.

There is still a long way to go - but a step like this is a significant one.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
monaro said
Aphrodite.

And women develop support systems. Women's traditional support systems support women being "vulnerable"; men's traditional support system support men being "invulnerable". This creates a paradox: the support men get to be invulnerable makes them vulnerable.

Expressing feelings of vulnerabilty brings women affection and men rejection. So men's support systems support men being invulnerable - the result?
Hello Monaro.

You seem to be reading too much about the "theories" of men's behavior that are often written by females.

Therein lies much of the actual paradox. Services don't exist for men because apparently men don't seek support! The reality however is that trials, of services provided by government for men, are very small and based on service provision for females. Female service delivery methods simply don't work for men and in most cases men are not even aware that such services exist.

Some examples:

Men are more likely to pick up a phone book rather than ask people close to them, where services may exist, when there are sensitive issues confronting the male. In the female service delivery model there is an assumption that the "word" will get around between females and so methods such as listed phone numbers are not used to a high degree especially in a trial period. In the female service delivery model more focus is placed on the placement of pamphlets in location frequented by women. You are more likely to find information on male support services in you local womens center than anywhere else. Not surprisingly men simply do not find this information and when only a very small number of men find support services, it is assumed that "Men don't seek help" and therefore it is a waste of time and money providing services for them.

Then there is your GP and the medical professions involvement in men's health. I have heard of a health practices adviser who normally advised on female specific health issues, being given the addition task of advising on male specific health issues. After an hour and a half advisory session that related to female specific health issues he said the words similar to the following to cover supposedly all male specific health issues.

On men's health. Well we all know what men think about DRE.

That was it! A DRE is a digital rectal examination that is a diagnostic procedure to examine the prostrate gland when there is reason to suspect the development of prostrate cancer. Prostrate cancer is a serious and often fatal condition and it only warranted one brief sentence. Putting aside that fact the one and only one condition was considered of relevance to men's health, the information provided was totally misleading. Although a DRE is a useful diagnostic procedure that is a strong indicator it is not necessary in the first instance. A DRE is also a poor early detection indicator as the very early development of prostrate cancer is not often detected by this procedure.

What this health adviser failed to mention on this one and only one men's health issue was the a simple PSA blood test (prostrate specific antigen) taken at intervals depending on the patients age will give a better indication of the early detection of prostrate cancer. It is however true that a DRE is advisable to conclude diagnosis. I am however sure that men would be more willing to undergo a simple blood test rather than a DRE. Ironically it is the same government health adviser that will tell you that men don't seek services.

Now on to your GP. Health is an expensive industry. The government knows it and so does your GP. Your GP is under pressure from the government to cut costs by not making too many pathology requests. Your GP also makes more money out of a consultation that does result in a pathology test. So for your GP there is some conflict between profit and cost to the government. Not all pathology fits into one basket. There are many "incentive" schemes that promote the use of pathology for female specific health conditions such as breast or cervical cancer. There schemes do not put your GP under the microscope when making pathology referrals. However male specific pathology tests fit into the "general" basket and your GP is scrutinized on these referrals. Most reasonable people can then understand that the end result is a lower utilization of pathology testing for male specific conditions, however those in the health industry believe that this result is due to men not seeking services and then presented as yet another reason to provide male specific services.

Another example on post separation mental health:

Once again service provision for males is based of female service delivery methods. In reality it is exactly that same service provider that has been working in female service provision and has simply added male service provision as an additional service without making any changes to the service provision methods whatsoever! Apart form that fact that males are not likely to find these services (as previously mentioned) there are additional hurdles for men who do seek these services.

Take counseling as an example. It is understood by conclusive research that the biases of counselors are inappropriately skewed towards the beliefs that men are penetrators of abuse only. This is easily imagined for counselors that have exclusively worked with female clients in the past. Now imagine the poor man who seeks help only to see that his behavior is initially judged as being wrong, needing to prove himself while felling distrusted. Imaging words such as "well you must have done something wrong to your wife" to a man who has done nothing wrong and has been abused by his wife. These things do happen when counselors believe events such as domestic violence are only perpetrated by females when they have been provoked by the unacceptable behavior of the male. As you can imagine most men will walk away from this form of counseling and it is not likely they will ever seek help again. Even more reason NOT to provide services for males!

So in conclusion, monaro and I hope you can accept my opinion without offense as no offense has been intended - What you have presented here is the "male deficit model". You are unwittingly suggesting that because males are different to females that they have a deficit and because they have this defict they are less deserving than females.

I see this situation differently. In my view males and females are equally deserving of services and good health. I see this as a failure to package services in a manner that assists men to obtain services in the same way the current packaging results in females obtaining services. This will never happen while we expect men to respond in the same way as females as this ignores the the fact that males and females are different and can only lead to the "male deficit model".

One of the classic indicators of Bias

Some time ago, I was at a seminar - one of the speakers talked about an Anger Management course for men - It was different because the female staff from the centre also spoke to the partners of the men participating in the course. The concept was to provide feedback to the men about how their partners saw the man's behavior.

The centre also ran Anger Management Courses for women - the male workers at the centre proposed contacting the male partners of the participants in the course, in the same way as the partners of the partners in the Male Anger MAnagement course. The female workers at the centre said it was not approriate to provide feedback to the women. At the seminar, no explanation was offered. But from having studied in the community welfare sector, I observed have a general perception by the sector that a woman cannot be held accountable for her behaviour or actions. This came from a range of community organisations providing support in many different areas of the community - from Prison services for women through Personal Development to Parenting Support.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
monaro said
Aphrodite,

As a women, it might be difficult to grasp this, since, divorce and seperation rarely increase women's risk of suicide at all. why not? women are more likely to have the children-someone to love them and need them, remember that people who feel loved and needed rarely commit suicide?

And women develope support systems. Women's tradional support systems support women being "vulnerable"; men's taditional support system support men being "invulnerable". This creates a Paradox, the support men get to be invulnerable  makes them vulnerable.

Expressing feelings of vulnerabilty brings women affection and men rejection. So men's support systems support men being invulnerable the result?
 

Monaro being a "women" has nothing to do with it at all as I am just looking at the statistical evidence and not making broad sweeping assumptions that might support a cause.

With respect, on what basis can you make the statement that divorce and separation do not cause suicide in women? The statistics do not show any cause for any suicide male or female. I would say that both sexes come out of divorce feeling vulnerable but that is not the issue here.

The facts as presented and researched:

The Rudd government quotes a figure of 3 men to one woman suicide.

So by my reckoning if you deduct the indigenous suicides, the Victorian apprentices in the building industry, the very young and probably the very old, the male suicides attributed to be investigated for possessing child pornography and the fact the median age for males divorcing is currently 41 years old, I hazarding a guess that the rate for male and female suicide directly attributale to divorce or separation would roughly be the same.

From what I can gather the Griffiths University study is not complete at all and seeks to prove or disprove a theory. I would ask if Professor De Leo is married or divorced?

I do support the initiative though and if all men (divorced single or whatever) can benefit then that is a good thing, I just don't see it as an issue for Family Law.
Aphrodite said
the male suicides attributed to be investigated for possessing child pornography

This is the second time you have raised this, the question is why? what are you suggesting?

The current national Police investigations into pornography have resulted in one suicide and one attempt, this is an insignificant number in the overall picture.


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