Sympathetic ear saves
SUPPORT IS IMPORTANT IN AVERTING SUICIDE
FAMILY and friends have been identified as a vital factor in halting the downward spiral experienced by suicidal men.
Interviewed or surveyed for the beyondblue-backed Men’s Experiences with Suicidal Behaviour and Depression Project were more than 200 Australian men who had recently attempted suicide.
Close to 90 per cent of men consulted identified support from someone they trust and respect as the key factor in interrupting a suicide attempt.
The next most important factor, as cited by close to 80 per cent of respondents, was being able to chat to someone who would take an interest in their situation.
But while chatting to a confidant might seem like a simple solution, four common themes among suicidal men picked up in the study show why it is not quite that easy.
Among them was the perception that they were ‘unmanly’ if they asked for help, while another trait was the tendency to distance themselves from others.
“These factors interact and lead men to think they are a burden (and) unmanly if they seek help from family and friends when usually nothing could be further from the truth,” beyondblue chief executive Georgie Harman said.
“By shedding light on what families, friends and col- leagues can look out for, this research is crucial in our efforts to prevent suicide.”
Perth psychologist Vishal Maharaj agreed that family and friends were key to those that need help.
“People can feel like they’re the only ones experiencing what they’re going through,” he said.
“Quite often they can be surprised that others are thinking the same thing.”
He said that while many of the men he sees have had suicidal thoughts, it was good to see them seeking help.
“It’s positive because men are starting to talk about things and can admit they are not coping,” he said.
“Ten years ago that might not have been the case.”
At state level Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said the Ministerial Council for Suicide Prevention and the Mental Health Commission had been developing a new suicide prevention strategy for WA. It will be released soon.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call beyondblue on 1300 224 636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Men are encouraged to speak up if they are not coping.