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Men told to toughen up and ask for help

Lifeline’s new campaign.

Lifeline Australia has launched a new campaign to break down the traditional yet “outdated” ideas about masculinity that have prevented men from reaching out at critical periods in their life.

Some 75 per cent of all suicides in Australia are by men, yet only about 40 per cent of people who contact Lifeline are men.

Great strength is needed to talk about being stressed about money and work, or about feeling low, says the national ┬ácharity’s┬áCEO Pete Shmigel.

“We are not asking any man to be less of man, in fact we are asking them to be more of man,” Shmigel said.

It’s estimated 80 to 85 per cent of Australians are impacted by suicide.

Shmigel said its extraordinary to think that despite 25 straight years of economic growth, suicide is at a 10 year high.

“It is this undercurrent phenomenon that is taking place in our midst,” he said.

Saving lives can often be as simple as having a chat with a mate down the pub or with a girlfriend or wife.

“It’s sometimes OK to be sad, it’s sometimes OK to be stuffed up,” Shmigel said.

“What’s not OK and what can become toxic and deadly is when we kind of push that away, force it aside, don’t find a way to have a talk about it.”

Lifeline’s crisis support and suicide prevention services offer anonymity and confidentiality to men, he said.

1 comment | click to view comment

Comment Manually

    Comments

    Adam Blanch

    June 8, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    This is classic victim blaming. If we were talking about women’s suicide this would be a conversation about social forces, disenfranchisement and isolation, not blaming the people who are suffering from it.

    We will reduce men’s suicide when we stop dehumanising them, isolating them from the people they love and demanding that they sacrifice themselves to the false god of economic productivity. Men take their lives because their lives have become meaningless.

    Mr Schmigel should look at the correlation between economic growth and increased male suicide and see the obvious, one contributes to the other. Traditional stereotypes and social roles have been declining for decades, so blaming them for an increase in male suicide is the opposite of logical.

    As a psychologist who specialises in working with men, it is incredibly dissapointing to see a peak body such as lifeline blaming men for societies failure to understand the circumstances that lead them to despair and hopelessness, and failure to respond effectively to that.

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