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Male-Friendly Approaches to Suicide Prevention

This talk was presented at the 2017 National Suicide Prevention Conference held in Brisbane. It was delivered by Glen Poole, Development Officer the Australian Men's Health Forum (AMHF) and draws on AMHF's 2016 position paper: "The Need For Male-Friendly Approaches to Suicide Prevention".

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Male-Friendly Approaches to Suicide Prevention

  1. 1. By Glen Poole, Development Officer, AMHF How to Develop a Male-Friendly Approach to Suicide Prevention
  2. 2. 2 The peak body for male health in Australia focusing on the social issues that shape men and boys’ health and wellbeing. What is the Australia Men’s Health Forum?
  3. 3. 3 “Those most at risk of premature death and illness include Indigenous males, males from rural and remote areas; those with blue collar backgrounds; males with mental illness; war veterans; gay, transgender and intersex people; males with disabilities; socially isolated and non-English speaking males.” Male health in Australia, a call to action (AMHF position paper 2016) We care about men in all their diversity
  4. 4. 4 80.4 years, male life expectancy (84.5 years female life expectancy) 500 people a week die prematurely, nearly two thirds are male 1 in 4 males die before they reach 65 (and 1 in 7 females) 7 out of 10 young people who die each year are male 96% of people who die at work are men 73% of people who die in transport accidentsare male 4 times more men under 65 die from heart disease than women 100 more men than women die from cancer every week Indigenous males die 10 years younger thanNon- Indigenous males 4 times more research funding is given to women’s health 10 Top Male Health Issues
  5. 5. 5 6 male suicides a day and 2 female suicides a day 41% increase in male suicide (2006-2015) 2 boys and young men under 20 die by suicide each week #1 killer of men under 45 40-54 year old men record highest number of suicide 85+ men have the highest rates of suicide $6m is the estimated cost of each individual suicide $13.75B the estimated cost of male suicide per year 2x more likely to suicide if you’re ATSI male 4x more likely to attempt suicide if you’re GBTI male 10 top facts about male suicide
  6. 6. 6 1,500 men’s lives a year $9.3B a year Closing the gender suicide gap would save:
  7. 7. 7 “It appears that women are more likely to benefit from all of the [suicide prevention] strategies than are men.” David Lester, Suicide In Men (2014) #SuicideStrategyFail
  8. 8. 8 3 reasons most strategies are more female friendly They primarily view suicide as a mental health issue? 01 They place more priority on spotting and helping suicidal people? 02 They place more priorityon people who’ve attemptedsuicide? 03
  9. 9. 9 Suicides linked with a mental health diagnosis 44.4% male suicides 63.6% female suicides
  10. 10. Suicides linked with a mental health diagnosis People who die by suicide, but don’t have a mental health diagnosis, are nearly five times more likely to be male.
  11. 11. 11 Reported levels of suicidality WOMEN 42% more likely to think about suicide more likely to attempt suicide more likely to make suicide plans WOMEN 67% WOMEN 75%
  12. 12. 12 People completing suicide at first attempt 44.4% female suicides 72.3% male suicides
  13. 13. 7 ways to make your suicide prevention strategy or service male friendly 1. Turn your thinking outside in 2. Challenge the three big myths about male suicide 3. Focus more on the situational factors 4. Be gender inclusive (not gender-biasedor gender neutral) 5. Focus on men’s strengths 6. Consider the needs of men and boys in all our diversity 7. Predict and measure your impact
  14. 14. #1. Turn your thinking outside-in The inside-out model of suicide prevention SUICIDE Acquiring the abilityto suicide Becomingsuicidal Having mental healthissues FEELING SUICIDE PLANNING SUICIDE ATTEMPTING SUICIDE ANXIETY SUBSTANCE ABUSE DISORDERS DEPRESSION OTHER MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
  15. 15. #1. Turn your thinking outside-in The outside-in model of suicide prevention SUICIDE Is suicide the solution? Can I live with my problems? Can I cope with my problems? FIXING PROBLEMS COPING WITH PROBLEMS ABILITY TO SUICIDE SOCIAL PROBLEMS BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS Can I fix my problems? HAVING PROBLEMS
  16. 16. #2. Challenge the three big myths about male suicide MYTH FACT Men DON’T talk Men DO talk (if you know how to listen) Men DON’T get help Men DO get help (if you know how to give men help) Men DON’T deal with depression Men DO deal with depression (often differently from women) Most male suicide is not associated with diagnosed depression
  17. 17. #2. Challenge the three big myths about male suicide Men DO talk “Every week separated fathers of all backgrounds attend our Dads In Distress meetings and talk to each other in a structured way about their situation. 51% report suicidality at their first meeting. After three sessions that drops to zero.” Pete Nicholls, CEO, Parents Beyond Breakup
  18. 18. #2. Challenge the three big myths about male suicide Men DO get help “Instead of focusing on help seeking, we decided to focus entirely on help offering. Help offering skills are simple skills that can be taught to anyone. Thousands of workers across Australia are realising that saving a life is not that hard.” Jorgen Gullestrup, CEO, MATES In Construction
  19. 19. 19 Men DO deal with depression (but we don’t always talk about it) The top ways men cope with depression 1. Eat healthily (54.2% 2. Keep myself busy (50.1%) 3. Use humour to reframe thoughts/feelings (41.1%) 4. Exercise (44.9%) 5. Do something to help another person (35.7%) [11. Talk to people close to me, or someone I trust (29.2%)] Source: Doing what comes naturally: positive self-help strategies used by men to prevent depression and suicide, Beyond Blue/Movember) # Challenge the three big myths about male suicide
  20. 20. #3. Focus more on the situational factors
  21. 21. #3. Focus more on the situational factors “Regardless of what mental health issues surround a suicidal person, it is likely that the crisis state that they are experiencing is fuelled by specific negative life events such as relationship breakdown, or life-changing impacts such as a lack of employment, continuing discrimination, or background trauma.” Alan Woodward, Executive Director, Lifeline Research Foundation
  22. 22. #3. Focus more on the situational factors A recent study of male farmer suicides found that while 22% of the men in the study suffered a long-term mental illness, 78% of the suicides were associated with acute situational distress linked to relationship issues/family breakdown or a work/financial crisis. A separate study of men in Western Australia aged 65 to 85, found that around 83% of suicides in this group were not associated with a mental disorder.
  23. 23. #4. Be gender inclusive (not gender-biased or gender neutral) “Suicide prevention programs are generally not targeted on gender grounds. The challenge is that most services are gender-neutral, which may mean that in effect they are not focused on reaching men, not satisfactory in their character and offer of service to be seen as useful by men.” Pete Shmigel, CEO, Lifeline
  24. 24. #4. Be gender inclusive (not gender-biased or gender neutral) Gender Neutral Blind to gender differences, unconscious of gender bias and ignorant of the gender barriers that some people face Gender-Biased Gendered approaches that seek to favour one gender over another run the risk of excluding or disadvantaging those they are biased against. Gender Inclusive Gender inclusive approaches actively and consciously seek to overcome the gender barriers that people face without creating negative bias. For example, offering a male-friendly service in addition to (not in opposition to) a female-friendly service (or vice versa)
  25. 25. #5. Focus on men’s strengths Men’s Sheds a great Australian success story
  26. 26. Why Men’s Sheds work: § There are more Men’s Sheds than McDonalds in Australia § They are based on the principle that “men talk shoulder-to-shoulder, not face-to-face” § They operate in the ultimate male-friendly environment: The Shed! § They allow men to retain independence and self-reliance § They reduce social isolation § They focus on physical action (and social interaction is a by-product) § They give men a sense of purpose § They enable to get help while giving help to others (reciprocity) #5. Focus on men’s strengths
  27. 27. #6. Consider the needs of men and boys in all our diversity Wingmen is a beyondblue and National LGBTI Health Alliance project developed by gay guys for gay guys; funded with donations from The Movember Foundation
  28. 28. #6. Consider the needs of men and boys in all our diversity
  29. 29. #7. Predict and measure your impact PREDICT If you stop and think, it is predictable (for example) that a project targeting people who’ve previously attempted, will reach more women than men. What else could you predict if you started to think in a more gender inclusive way? MEASURE If we never measure how well we do in terms of gender inclusivity, then we’ll never know how gender inclusive we are or if we’re improving. What KPIs can you start to measure to keep track of how much more gender inclusive you’re becoming (or not)?
  30. 30. National Male Suicide Prevention Conference
  31. 31. Any questions? Who What When Where Why How
  32. 32. Confidential32 Don’t be a stranger…. Glen Poole Development Officer Australian Men’s Health Forum