The Stop Male Suicide in Queensland seminar took place in Brisbane on Friday 3rd June. The event was huge success and our evaluation forms show that:
- Suicide literacy in the group rose from 77% to 88% for men and from 75% to 85% for women.
- Suicide prevention confidence (where a score of 1 is “confident” and a score of 2 is “very confident”) rose from an average score of 0.9 to 1.4 for men and doubled for women from 0.7 to 1.4.
- The proportion of participants who were confident or very confident they could spot a man at risk of suicide went from 63% to 100% for men and more than doubled from 31% to 69% for women.
The event also generated some media coverage in the Sunday Mail:
If you’re interested in improving male suicide literacy and suicide prevention confidence then you may be interested in pre-ordering a copy of our new book “You Can Stop Male Suicide” at the following link:
If you want to find out more about the speakers who attended the Stop Male Suicide in Queensland seminar see below for details.
Rhett Foreman is commercial site manager in the construction industry. Having survived suicide himself, he had a very important message to share:
“People who suicide do not want tot die, they just want the pain to stop”.
Rhett gave a moving talk in front of his father, who attended the whole day. Rhett shared a story of how a video he made for Beyond Blue helped save a man’s life. Rhett is a passionate advocate for the work of MATES In Construction and Roses In The Ocean (see more on these organisations below).
Tim Fisk shared his experience of surviving a suicide attempt and explained how he went on to become a passionate advocate of men’s groups. He says men who belong to groups report major improvements in self-worth, self-acceptance and self-esteem. You can find out more about the men’s groups Tim helps run at the following website:
Justin Geange also shared his personal experience of surviving suicide and was watched by his wife Marnie as he delivered a talk that provoked tears of compassion and tears of laughter. Justin provided some light relief by finishing with his song “Hey Are You OK?” inspiring everyone to join in.
You can download the song on iTunes with all monies raised going to Suicide Prevention Australia, MATES In Construction and RU OK? Day.
Natalie Whale attended the event as an ambassador for R U OK? She shared her personal experience of losing her father to suicide. R U OK? ambassadors are attending Stop Male Suicide events around the country.
The RU OK? campaign says:
“If your gut says something’s not quite right with someone, chances are that they might need a bit of extra support from the people around them. They might be acting a bit differently, seem to have a lot on their plate, or simply aren’t themselves. Don’t ignore those signs but instead take some time to start a conversation.
“One of the great things about asking “are you ok?” is you don’t have to know the answers to a mate’s problems. Nor do you have to be ok yourself. Or feel particularly strong. As long as you feel up to listening, not judging and just talking through stuff you have found useful in the past, you’ve everything it takes to have a meaningful conversation to support a mate in need.”
For more information on how to ask “R U OK? see this link:
Paul Mischefski was our lead local partner in Queensland representing two organisations, Men’s Wellbeing and the Australian Men’s Health Forum.
Paul says: “Men’s Wellbeing Inc is a volunteer, not-for-profit community organisation that has been operating in Queensland for almost 25 years.Our Patron is well-known family psychologist and author Steve Biddulph.
“We run Common Ground men’s groups, a nine-week facilitated men’s group with a structured format covering a range of issues, including relationships, parenting, life purpose, resolving personal issues and building successful support networks.
“We also run four annual men’s weekend gatherings called Open Ground, with a range of various lifestyle workshops men can choose from, as well as networking.”
You can find out more at the Men’s Wellbeing website: www.menswellbeing.org
Paul informed attendees about the work of The Australian Men’s Health Forum (AMHF), the peak national body in Australia advocating for the health and social wellbeing outcomes of men and boys. It is a voluntary organisation made up of representatives of key men’s health organisations in each state.
The AMHF has just released a crowd-funding project with a YouTube video calling for funding to support a research program that will help people deal with and become more literate in addressing male suicide. In the closing session of the day, one of attendees generously pledged $5,000 to this fundraising initiative.
Paul is inviting people to watch and circulate this video promoting AMHF’s male suicide prevention initiative:
Paul would also like to make people aware that The AMHF has released a new research paper from the University of South Australia on the state of male health Australia-wide, called “Male Health In Australia – A Call For Action” which found that Government funding for male health research is only 25% of that spent on women’s health research.
You can view the paper at: www.amhf.org.au
Glen Poole of the Stop Male Suicide Project delivered a talk on the facts and figures about male suicide in Queensland. Glen is committed to increasing male suicide literacy at an individual, collective and systemic level as well as building people’s confidence to talk about and prevent male suicide.
You can support this work by pre-ordering a copy of Stop Male Suicides new book (“You Can Stop Male Suicide) by clicking on this link:
Jorgen Gullestrup of Mates In Construction, spoke about preventing suicide in the workplace. Jorgen’s key message is:
“Suicide prevention is simple – we can all do it.”
Jorgen says there are four things to remember when talking with men:
- We need a definable problem to solve
- We need connection and common purpose
- Play to our strength – we might not be great help seekers, but we are great help offerors
- For thousands of years our focus have been the four P’s: Protect, Provide Protein and Procreate – the context and culture may have changed but lots of the old hardwiring remains, we should use it.
Jorgen would like to bring people’s attention to the book:
And in particular the following chapters:
- Chapter 1 Krysinska, K. Men and Suicide: An Overview
- Chapter 2 Gunn III J F. The Role of Loneliness in Men’s Suicide
- Chapter 24 Quinnett, P. Men and Suicide Prevention: Why Can’t a Man be More like a Woman?
- Chapter 26 Martin, G & Gullestrup, J Help-Seeking and Men: An Innovative Suicide Prevention Program from the Construction Industry.
You can find out more about the work of MATES in Construction at their website:
Lee Crockford of Spur Projects ran a session on engaging with younger men. Lee says Spur Projects’ five key pillars for engaging with young men include:
- Simple, blunt and non-clinical language
- Subversive engagement models
- Utilisation of groundswell momentum (ie; “everyone else is doing it”)
- Embedded action in all projects
- Dissected approaches (no one approach is going to reach everyone)
Lee would like to invite everyone to take part in what he says is the world’s largest real-time mental health survey, “How is the World Feeling?” at the following website:
You can find out more about Spur Projects at: www.spurprojects.org
Bronwen Edwards of Roses In The Ocean talked about empowering communities to prevent male suicide by sharing lived experience. This is Bronwen’s message:
“If you are working in the suicide prevention area – include people with a lived experience of suicide in everything you do! They bring valuable insight, wisdom and integrity to all stages of prevention. If you are concerned about someone, have the courage to ask them directly if they are thinking about ending their own life. Then be prepared to sit and listen without judgement and keep them safe until you can connect them with appropriate help.”
Bronwen would like people to consider hosting a Roses In The Ocean event in their local are. You can find out more about this here: http://rosesintheocean.com.au/host-event/
You can also support Roses In The Ocean’s work by attending their gala dinner in Brisbane on 19th August.
For more information about Roses In The Ocean see their website:
Amanda Sillars of The Eeny Meeny Miney Mo Foundation, talked about suicide risk amongst alienated children and alienated parents. Amanda is committed to educating people about parental alienation, collaborating with other community organisations and providing support for parents experiencing parental alienation. She says:
“’Parental Alienation’ is a process of one parent influencing a child to turn against and reject their other parent without legitimate justification. The alienating parent can also be a grandparent, a step-parent and even a non-family member. Parental alienation can occur even if the relationship between the targeted child and targeted parent was once a very positive one. Parental alienation is a form of psychological abuse.”
You can find out more about work to tackle parental alienation in Australia at the following links:
Casey Lyons of LIVIN was unavoidably delayed on the way from Townsville and unable to speak at the event. LIVIN is working to spread the message “It Ain’t Weak To Speak”. Casey says:
“Suicide is preventable and it’s everyone’s business. It’s time to stand up and make a change. For too long it has been swept under the rug and hidden, hoping that if we ignore it the problem will go away. We as the people need to come together to make this change. Let’s start talking, share our problems, share our defeats and also our victories. We need to slow down so we can take the time out to look after ourselves and those around us. Empathy, compassion and resilience will go a long way to affecting positive change.”
The key points that Casey would like people to know are:
- Suicide is preventable
- Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australia between the ages of 15-44
- Suicide is at an all-time high
- For too long mental illness and suicide has been perceived as a weakness, mental illness is no different to other illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
You can find out more about LIVIN at:
Shana Challenor spoke about the work of CAPS (Community Action for the Prevention of Suicide). Shana says:
“From our experience in working with those at risk, particularly males, the key issues/commonalities that need to be addressed are:
- Practical needs e.g. finances; housing etc
- Assisting them to make a contribution e.g. employment; group membership; mentoring others
- Connection with strong support networks in which they feel comfortable to be open e.g. men’s groups; faith communities etc.
The challenges include:
- Substance use
- Early engagement
The key is being clear which of these factors we have an impact on?
How do we do this? The key is:
- Early recognition
- Early Intervention
- Availability of services
We do this by:
- Raising awareness and educating our gatekeepers including GP’s, families, friends and the community as a whole.
- Increasing services and modes of support available for men and their supports
- Increasing funding to support real action”
Shana says: “We need ACTION not another policy. We need real investment not just talk. We need a quantified reduction strategy and whole of government support to ensure its success.”
If you would like more information about the work of CAPS you can visit their website where you find some resources and subscribe to their quarterly newsletter:
Ross Romeo spoke about the work of CORES (Community Response to Eliminating Suicide). Ross’s advice to those who want to help stop male suicide is simple:
- Be a support
- Use community resources
- Learn the signs
- Look & listen
- Start the conversation
- Early intervention
- You’re not alone
- Everyone can save a life
You can find out more about the work of CORES at the following links:
Stuart Stoddart of Lifeline gave a talk on suicide prevention skills. You can find out more about the suicide prevention training that Lifeline provides at the following website:
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rod attended the seminar and told delegates that he is planning a Hike 2 Halve Suicide, Larapinta Trek for Suicide Prevention Australia in August. Rod is interested in hearing from people who may have some ideas to help him with his fundraising endeavours.
You can see Rod’s fundraising page here:
And you can contact Rod on the following email: email@example.com
ADDITIONAL THANKS TO
- Camelia Perkins and Troy Holland, who spoke about preventing male suicide in rural and regional Queensland
- Daryl Passmore for the article in the Sunday Mail
- Greg Millan at Men’s Health Services whose partnership made the event possible
- The staff at the Norman Park Bowls club
- Everyone who attended
- The many people who helped in different ways too many to mention by name
- 10 Facts About Male Suicide in Queensland
- Archive: Stop Male Suicide in Queensland seminar program
- Male Suicide We Have To Name The Problem To Deal With It