There is a huge amount of taboo about suicide, and we don’t talk about it enough. Recently there has been a social media campaign trending about men and suicide, to promote a better understanding within our community about this incredibly important topic.

The facts are clear.

Men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. This tragic loss of life is most common in men who are in their middle years – between the ages of 20 and 44 years old, and also older men, who are of 75 years of age or more. Living in rural and remote areas is a risk factor, meaning that living in this area is associated with a higher level of risk.

When men experience traumatic events in life, such as relationship breakdown, being separated from their children, being unemployed, being social isolated and financial stress, these things can significantly increase the likelihood that a man will commit suicide.

But why?

There are certain factors that can be identified which together can have a negative effect on emotional wellbeing. When this happens, the risk of suicide increases. Common factors are:

  • Loneliness and lack of social support

  • High pressure at work

  • Difficult workload under tough conditions

  • Being unemployed

  • Retirement

  • Financial or legal worries

  • Family or friends who have committed suicide

  • Drug and alcohol abuse

  • Mental illness

Reasons men don’t say anything.

Men are less likely than women to seek for things like emotional problems. This is why it is incredibly important to be able to recognise help-seeking behaviours. Men may not realise or acknowledge their own emotional distress, or just prefer to “sort things out themselves” so that they don’t burden those around them. It can also be seen as embarrassing or shameful to talk about these things, with concerns that they are showing signs of weakness and that their friends or peers will think less of them. Another reason is that men might not know where to seek help, or what help is available, and think that services which are offered are not very appropriate for men.

What can be done?

A lot, actually. If you, or someone you may know, is experiencing thoughts of hopelessness and suicide, seek help. Speak to a medical professional, they can help. Other services are available such as Mensline Australia (1300 78 99 78) have a 24hr crisis support line for men. We can also promote men to talk about difficult issues in a safe space, Mensheds Australia are a great place to do this ( We also need to be proactive, sometimes needing to ask men directly about their thoughts as they often won’t initiate this themselves. If you have someone you are worried about, you might need to ask more questions even if they say that they are okay.

Last but not least.

Don’t give up. There is help available. These resources can give you more information about this important topic.

  • Beyondblue, the national depression initiative: Ph: 1300 22 4636;

  • HealthInsite information about suicide prevention

  • Men’s Health Australia: psychological and social wellbeing for men and boys

  • Read the Signs: things to getting help yourself or for a mate

  • Mood Gym – an interactive online course to overcome problem emotions and develop good coping skills:

  • Lifeline – 24 hour crisis counselling available across Australia: Ph: 13 11 14; Toolkit for men experiencing difficult times available at

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