Sym­pa­thetic ear saves


Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Perth - Bryce Luff

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.

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