A report by Beyond Blue found that in only one year there were 30,197 ambulance attendances for men who had experienced self-harm (self-injury, suicidal thoughts and attempts, self-harm threat and suicide deaths). This was more than three times higher than available hospitalisation data.
Australian men are experiencing high rates of anxiety, depression, psychosis and self-harm
The statistics are staggering and highlight how men in Australia experience high rates of mental health issues like anxiety, depression, psychosis, self-harm and alcohol and other related drugs.
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 44 in Australia.
- Of the 2,269 suicide deaths in 2016, 76% (or 1,720) were male.
- On average, 1 in 8 men will experience depression; 1 in 5 men will experience anxiety, 1 in 3 men will experience alcohol related problems some time in their lives.
In the Yarra Ranges, males have a higher level of psychological distress than females
Did you know that the 2014 Victorian Population Health survey showed that in the Yarra Ranges, males had a higher level of psychological distress than females? This is quite different to the state trend of females usually having a much higher level. Males were well above the state average (more than double the level had a high or very high level of psychological distress), whilst females were only slightly above average. 1
112,637 ambulance attendances for men experiencing mental health issues in only 1 year
In 2015-16 there were 112,637 ambulance attendances for men experiencing acute mental health issues, with 78% of the men then taken to hospital:
- More than 60% of cases occurred after hours, and 33% occurred on weekends.
- 42% of cases were men whom ambulances had responded to before.
- More than 30% of cases involved police.
- More than 20% involved more than one mental health issue.
- More than 60% involved alcohol or other drugs.
The most commonly involved illicit drugs were amphetamines including crystal meth or ‘ice’ and cannabis. In almost one-third of cases involving illicit drugs there was also the use of alcohol, and almost one in 10 also involved pharmaceutical drugs. Find out about Inspiro's Chill & Chat alcohol and drug peer support group here.
- 10% were for anxiety, 9% for depression and 8% for psychosis.
- 15% were for suicidal thoughts and 8% for suicidal attempts.
- Overdose was the most common way for males to attempt suicide. For almost half of ambulance attendances related to suicidal thoughts, the man involved had a clear suicide plan.
Men (and boys) are finding it difficult to seek help for these 4 reasons
Despite the high rates of mental health issues many men find it difficult to seek help, with 4 common barriers including:
1. Poor knowledge and recognition of mental health issues and where to get help.
2. Their beliefs around getting help as a sign of weakness.
3. The stigma and shame linked to mental health conditions.
4. When men do look for help, it is often when they are going through a severe situation or are in crisis.
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This is how we can better support men
The Beyond The Emergency study of ambulance responses to men’s mental health, highlighted many opportunities for how we can better support men with mental health issues. The main calls to action were these 4:
1. Enhance ambulance service capacity to respond effectively to mental health issues.
2. Continue using coded ambulance clinical records to identify and monitor community mental health needs.
3. Developing education and resources to support men affected by mental health issues.
4. Re-design the current service system to provide timely, accessible and non-stigmatising treatment options.
Inspiro’s counselling services offer support for men
Inspiro provides counselling and psychology services, peer support groups, medication recovery programs and free youth and family counselling.
• Find out about our Chill & Chat alcohol and drug peer support group
Call 9028 0153 to make an appointment with a counsellor or psychologist
If you are experiencing mental health issues and would like to talk to someone, you can call:
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
- Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
- Eastern Health Mental Health Triage 1300 721 927
Source: Beyond The Emergency: A national study of ambulance response to men’s mental health.
1. Yarra Ranges Health and Wellbeing Profile, 2017