Left to right: Launch of Doing it Tough? at NSW Parliament House with Matthew Maclean, Acting CEO, Suicide Prevention Australia; the Hon Bronnie Taylor MLC, Minister for Mental Health; and Glen Toole, CEO, Australian Men’s Health Forum.

The need to provide a male-focused Community Response Package for suicide prevention was clear – 75 per cent of those who take their own life in Australia are men, many of whom have hesitated to speak out or seek help. Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA), the sector’s peak national body, has now delivered what it hopes is an important alleviator.

Its targeted project, ‘Doing it Tough?’, was officially launched in early June after months of rigorous development. Front and centre is a new website for men’s support services and resources, aiming to increase community awareness and collaboration among providers.

A five-pronged approach was adopted for the four-year project, commencing with an advisory group of representatives from SPA, Australian Men’s Health Forum, health professionals, research experts, people with lived experience, support groups such as Men’s Shed, and more. From there, a dedicated reference group was established to develop and map the online user journey.

This was followed by the compilation of an information directory encompassing clinical and community-based health services. Where other organisations have holistic lists, Doing it Tough? drilled into services that specifically offer what men are looking for. While no new content was developed, the project website now centralises and categorises existing information, with various filters helping to hone the search process.

For example, men can find and access services that are close to home, with locations aligning with Local Health District (LHD) boundaries. Another feature called ‘Tell us About You’ allows site visitors to identify their profile by detailing age, culture, occupation and more. There is also a search function pertaining to triggers such as mental ill-health, alcohol and other drugs, relationship problems, financial difficulties, gambling, trauma, bullying, and workplace issues. There are numerous other filters to further refine the search results.

The home page directly addresses men seeking support by asking “Do you have thoughts of suicide?”, before directing them to the above search function and support options . A second option titled “Are you helping someone who is struggling?” gives concerned family members, friends, partners, mates or colleagues a different entry point. A third option, “Are you a service helping someone who is struggling?”, enables service providers to search for additional resources and organisations.

SPA Acting CEO, Matthew McLean, said, “Sadly, three out of every four people who die by suicide are men. Support services are not always accessible or appropriate for men. That’s precisely why Doing It Tough? has been created – a place for men to decide for themselves what is appropriate for their need.

“One-size-fits-all won’t work for male suicide prevention. This new platform offers up a fully integrated experience where men can locate a service that feels right for them, whether it’s a men’s group in the community, specialist support or information resources online.”

The Australian Men’s Health Forum surveyed its members with different project title options, and Doing It Tough? resonated strongly. It was also favoured by the lived experience advisory panel.

The focus will now be on raising awareness around the project, both inside and outside the suicide prevention sector. Likely avenues will include GPs and pharmacies, clubs, community and cultural groups, and social media channels. For details, please see www.doingittough.org.

Community Response Packages for Priority Groups is a NSW Health Towards Zero Suicides initiative.

Current as at: Wednesday 20 July 2022
Contact page owner: Mental Health