Working with Men

Male Suicide Prevention

Preventing male suicide in Australia

There is a need for a specially designed strategy for preventing male suicide, especially as the current strategies and services in place is not getting to men at risk. The only best solution to this problem is to direct funding towards male-friendly services. Male suicide is a serious issue in our society where facts show that 8 people die by suicide daily and of these people, 6 are men. Thus, it is necessary to close the gender gap. Unfortunately, efforts to prevent suicide has mostly ignored this difference; adopting a universal approach to preventing suicide that is a better fit for women.

Different things motivate people to commit suicide, and for male suicide, it has been linked with money issues, relationship problems, alcohol abuse, and job loss while female suicide is usually due to previous suicide attempts and mental illness.

With about $5 billion invested annually into suicide prevention and mental health services by the government, there is a growing need to question how the money is being utilised. This is because most of the funds for suicide prevention is focused on services that are more accessible to women than men. The government’s ambitious and bold target to reach zero suicide will be more achievable if efforts to prevent male suicide are intensified.

Male Suicide Facts

The Department of Health noted back in 2008 that one of the leading risk factors for suicide is being male. There are other killers of men that have been successfully curbed or reduce, but suicide is not one of them. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data between 2009 and 2018;

  • There has been a 15% fall in the number of male deaths from coronary heart diseases.
  • There have been about 20% fall in the number of male deaths from transport accidents.
  • There has been more than 20% fall in a number of male deaths from lung cancer.
  • There has been about 25% fall in the number of male deaths from bowel cancer.
  • There has been a 25% fall in the number of male deaths from prostate cancer.

However, within the same period, male suicides have risen significantly. Male teenagers’ suicides increased by 70%, suicide by men between 20-24 rose by 40% and overall, male suicide rose by 30% from 2009 to 2018. The impacts of suicide are felt at every stage of life with teenage boys more than twice likely to kill themselves than girls and men over 85 about seven times more likely to commit suicide than women in that age group, the highest suicide rate of any age group. In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of male death behind cancer.

Given all this, it is crucial to find a new approach to preventing male suicides and making suicide prevention services more accessible for men.