Thinking about male suicide (Tasmania)

The following post provides some of the responses to an attendee survey conducted at the Stop Male Suicide in Tasmania seminar held in Hobart in March 2017:

  1. What key things prevent you (or others) taking action to stop male suicide?
  • Feeling inadequate, lack of skills
  • Lack of information, resources
  • Being able to support the person given your own personal circumstances presently impacting your own life
  • Lack of awareness
  • Client consent
  • Community understanding
  • Lack of knowledge about the subject, also there is an awkwardness about the subject
  • Lack of expertise
  • Not knowing how to take action
  • “Nothing”
  • Knowing what to do if you say “yes”
  • Opaque issue
  • Fear of direct questioning
  • Fear of responsibilities or correct action
  • Knowing what works for that person
  • Sometimes I hear about someone struggling but I get too busy to reach out to them. Takes me months to get around to it.
  • Feeling I am uneducated to provide the support needed.
  • Opportunity to interact with men
  • Opportunities to contribute
  • This is a subject we don’t talk openly enough
  • Knowing where to find help for someone in each area
  1. What are the barriers in the way of you taking action to stop male suicide?
  • Not knowing what I can do
  • Professionally – time; personally – pressure on self “what if I can’t help?
  • Inflexibility
  • Funding
  • Social inhibition
  • Might make the situation worse
  • Education
  • Education and knowledge about how to
  • The lack of inbetween immediate service response….there’s a gap between community services and hospital
  • Unclear pathway at a personal level
  • Privacy, the person may not want you to help them or tell anyone
  • Time poor, but because I work in the sector already and get buried/overwhelmed with work, can’t see the forest for the trees.
  • Limitations with the role at work. Cane we take the next step? Knowledge of how to approach or address concerns
  • Often seen as a private issue
  1. Why is it difficult to stop male suicide?
  • Society and culture so deeply ingrained
  • Men no thinking it’s ok to speak up
  • Because I am not aware of their condition
  • Huge complexity within the area
  • Because men are expected to be tough and not be weak
  • Maybe men don’t want to talk about it
  • Maybe men think suicide is justified
  • Equipping workplaces
  • Big community issue
  • Workers need to be upskilled
  • Probably a concealed activity
  • Hard to spot
  • People trying to put people in a particular box. Some people don’t fit.
  • Can’t fix their problems so how can we fix their suicidality?
  • Hard to stop because men stay quiet and don’t let on
  • It is not commonly/openly discussed
  • Lack of preventative strategies in early stages e.g. education
  • Seen as difficult to address
  • Because society isn’t conversing about this
  • Because we are not all comfortable to ask the question and talk to people
  1. How does “the system” prevent us taking action to stop male suicide?
  • Responsed being either too much or too little / gaps in services
  • Risk averse can mean an ‘over emphasis’ of avoiding litigations
  • The hospitals aren’t giving sufficient treatment to people who look clam
  • Wall, it’s the system’s job
  • People don’t fit criteria
  • Funding
  • Not sure if it does. Probably lack of access to services, support, hospital system
  • Not being able to get help in real time or being turned away
  • Because if we take someone to ED they get discharged or not even admitted
  • Ticking boxes instead of treating the person as a human
  • Talk-based therapy i.e. Mental Health Plans
  • Getting help when you need it and being taken seriously
  • Hard to get people into see services due to paperwork or referral pathways not able to get help when need. RHH discharge people causes trauma to a worker as you take the stress of worrying about them
  1. How does “our culture” prevent us taking action to stop male suicide?
  • Stigma and secrecy
  • Lack of resources past accessing and disclosing suicidality in hospitals etc
  • Social stigma
  • Hegemonic male archetype as strong, silent, suicide as weak
  • People don’t talk about the subject enough because it may be a touchy subject
  • Perhaps we are too busy to notice
  • Masculinity years of beliefs such as I don’t need help I’m a man
  • Subject is taboo, need more education and understanding
  • Education
  • Narrow views on what masculine means and negative views on femininity
  • Individualized cultural norms around you are only worth what you contribute
  • Can be taboo, lack of education
  • We don’t talk about problems or emotions with men, stigma, suicide is cowardly
  • Stigma surrounding mental health and males
  • Masculinity, very tribal, narrow thinking
  • Roles are prescribed, people don’t talk
  • Stigma that it’s wrong, not strong, you’r weak, culture amongst hospital staff as they are not suicidal aware
  1. What needs to change to help you (and others) stop male suicide?
  • More conversations in the community, families
  • More widespread education. If all members of our community are aware, skilled and understanding, suicide will stop
  • I need to be more proactive
  • Attitudes recognition of of different communication styles, education, living experience
  • Me
  • More education, understanding
  • Support from all service providers for a collective approach
  • Let everyday men lead service delivery , be involved in processes, consultation power of education
  • Suicide is barely recognized in the medical system as it is overwhelmed by other stuff. Medical practitioners are not necessarily trained. We more need real time help, education, breaking down barriers
  • Suicide needs to be seen as a health issue and barriers to getting that fixed need to be lowered
  • Having organisations that can provider a “trustworthy” and “non-judgmental” person to work with
  • Skilling me, how to have a conversation or be with someone
  • Wellness spectrum is no always presenting as “bad” or “not well enough” – more storytelling
  • Educate us all, empower us
  1. What could you do with more of or less to help you stop male suicide?
  • Continued conversations like this, real life examples highlighting the different stories
  • Initiative
  • Help support attitude change
  • I personally could tell my friends to talk more about male suicide
  • More time  rather than paperwork
  • Keep asking the question
  • More training
  • Lectures to nurses, GPs at Medical school, HR, people in universities
  • Education at an early educational level, in workplaces, family help
  • People are afraid that if we normalize it then suicide rates will go up. But we need normalize suicidality, not suicide itself
  • Education (more)
  • Strategies to approach the topic
  • Help me connect
  • Talk more with family, friends and raise more in professional capacity
  • Confidence to ask the question more and support if the answer is yes
  1. What one thing would make the biggest difference to help you take action?
  • Better collaborative approach through soft and early intervention, to early intervention, to emergency, clinical, discharge and follow up education
  • Information. Confidence
  • Education
  • Confidence to help others
  • Systemic issues at a medical level
  • One stop place to go (website?) that highlights the different services that people can go to
  • Make the issue of suicide a health issue
  • Training/education
  • Knowledge of services
  • Others who also think its a worthwhile issue, shared need
  • A forum that was regular, advocacy coalition, recognition in local government of significance
  • Useful resources and ability to assist

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