Response to David Leyonhjelm’s opinion piece in the Australian Financial Review
Suicide Prevention Australia is wholeheartedly committed to policy reform that addresses the needs of vulnerable groups.
We are not a government body. We are an independent national peak body and our role is to advocate for systemic change to reduce suicide across our population. It’s a role we take very seriously, which is why male suicide prevention is at the core of our advocacy agenda.
As Mr Leyonhjelm mentions, men represent three out of every four suicide deaths. This is an issue that needs targeted policy and funding attention.
Suicide is a complex, multi-faceted issue and should always be treated as such. We know that intimate relationship breakdown has a significant impact on men, and our recently published report, Turning the Tide: a six point plan for change, proposed actions to begin addressing this link. We developed this report with leading men’s health organisations and men with lived experience.
Our key recommendation is that the Federal Government should develop a male suicide prevention strategy. It would include specific actions to address male suicide, including:
- Prioritising funding for community services targeting men vulnerable to distress
- Actively mapping the journey of males who have died by suicide to identify Government agency touchpoints
- Ensuring Government workforces are trained to actively contribute to suicide prevention, through a workforce strategy
These proposals are just the start. Male suicide prevention is at the heart of our policy agenda, and we welcome feedback from anyone – including Mr Leyonhjelm – who’d like to join us in this work.