Men more likely to suicide, and less likely to seek help

Tough talk: Corey Duggan said men could find it difficult to speak up and ask for help when they were struggling with their mental health, but "opening up" could just save their life. Picture: Marina Neil
Tough talk: Corey Duggan said men could find it difficult to speak up and ask for help when they were struggling with their mental health, but "opening up" could just save their life. Picture: Marina Neil

COREY Duggan knows what it's like to lose all hope.

He knows how day-to-day problems can start to feel overwhelming, and how hard it can be to speak up to ask for support.

He has been there. He has struggled. But he made it through.

"I have contemplated suicide a couple of times," he said. "But suicide isn’t the answer. It's never the answer.

"What helped me was just to talk. I never talked to anyone until afterwards. That’s when I opened up, because I thought, 'Shit, what am I doing?'"

The carpenter said he did not speak to his family about it at the time. He did not want to scare them, worry them, or "burden" them with his problems.

"It was really just my mates that helped me," he said.

"Having someone to talk to, having people there that will listen, and not judge.

"I did contact beyondblue, and they were great. But talking to someone in person, as opposed to someone over the phone, was completely different."

Mr Duggan, 26, said he had suffered mental and physical abuse in a previous relationship.

"When I do tell people about it, being a man, I typically get - 'What did you do?'

"I never went to the police about it. I thought the best thing I could do was just walk away, and try to forget about it."

But it had taken a toll on him mentally.

"To all the fellas going through a tough time who feel that if they talk, they’ll be labelled weak, I say - opening up might just save your life," he said. "Us blokes, we need help. There are too many of us killing ourselves.

"I have lost mates to suicide, and no one even knew they were struggling."

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 3100 people died from intentional self harm in 2017.

Of those, 75 per cent were men.

Rob Sams, executive director of Lifeline Hunter, said the reasons for the higher rates of male suicide were "complex" and individual.

But men were also less likely to reach out for help, with one man for every three women accessing support services like Lifeline.

"The access to services is generally during work hours," Mr Sams said. "So if they are working, that can be a big barrier."

Mr Sams said as well as the 13 11 14 number - available 24 hours a day, every day - Lifeline has free face-to-face counselling services. They are run by qualified counsellors and/or psychologists. Lifeline also offers a chat and text service. 

Most calls taken by Lifeline related to people feeling isolated, relationship problems, or stressful life events.

"We can listen, we can intervene if someone is suicidal, and we can refer - we can put you in touch with the right services available around the country and in our area," he said.

"We can't offer miracles, but we can offer hope."

  • Sign up for QPR via everymind.org.au/QPR.
  • Lifeline 13 11 14.
  • Or do the safeTALK suicide prevention program by clicking here.

This article first appeared in the Newcastle Herald

This story 'Us blokes, we need help. There are too many of us killing ourselves' first appeared on The Land.