8 April 2013
Suicide among men of all diversities remains one of the more complex and challenging, yet preventable, health issues facing Australian communities today. As more than 2,000 Australians take their own lives. Men continue to account for nearly 80% of these deaths,with 1710 male suicide deaths reported in 2008 alone (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2010). The catalysts and contributors to male suicidality span a complex range of intrapsychic, emotional, interpersonal and social factors that often isolate men and erode their hope. This risk is something to which every man is potentially vulnerable. Men experience higher levels of ill health than women, including alcohol and drug misuse, injury, obesity, physical inactivity and physical disease. These are compounded by tendencies to avoid health care until illness becomes severe or life threatening. Men also tend to have smaller social support systems than women and are less likely to share their personal problems with friends or family. These factors combine to increase the burden of ill health on men including psychological distress. Suicide Prevention Australia believes initiatives, such as the development of a national Health and Well Being Strategy for Men, which encourage help-seeking among men, remove the barriers to continuity of care and replace the negative aspects of gender stereotyping with empowering and positive ways in which men can see themselves as contributors to society, have the potential to greatly reduce the rates of male suicide and self-harm in Australia.