Can Australia’s suicide rates be lowered?

Western Sydney University’s Men's Health Information and Resource Centre will host on Friday 23 March 2018 a symposium to examine the deep issues faced by people who are at risk of suicide.

The symposium, to be held at the University’s Parramatta City campus, will be opened by the NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard MP.

Professor Paul Yip, Director of the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention at Hong Kong University, will deliver the keynote on situational approaches to suicide prevention.

Other symposium sessions will include discussions on suicide prevention in Aboriginal communities, sports, and also the role the insurance industry can play in the prevention.

The symposium will be an important prelude to Men’s Health Week, and forms part of a long-term strategy aimed at shedding light on the underlying issues that can lead to suicide.

Director of the Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre, Professor John Macdonald, says this is an important discussion to be having.

“While suicide is not only an issue for men, 75 per cent of suicides are by males which suggests gender is a factor to be considered.  65 per cent of those were unemployed at the time or had suffered a recent loss,” says Professor Macdonald.

Assistant Director of the Men’s Health Information Resource Centre, Dr Neil Hall says encouraging people to speak about issues and anxieties that are affecting them is critical start.

"We also need to focus on resolving the situations that have led them to this point. It’s important to look at the relationships they have around them, a lack of employment, job pressures and supporting families,” says Dr Hall.

Sessions held throughout the day will be:

  • A situational approach to suicide prevention in Aboriginal communities – The Shed in Mt Druitt
  • The role of the insurance industry in suicide prevention – High intensity mental health issues and costs of other less successful approaches
  • Suicide prevention and wellbeing within the Sport Industry

Ends

22 March 2018

Kathryn Bannon, Media Officer