On the back of the Regional Men's Health Initiative delivering a paper to the National Suicide Prevention Conference in Perth last month, we thought it was appropriate to talk about suicide from a primary carer's point of view.

As a community we have to be able to talk openly and frankly about suicide, because without using the word suicide we can't talk about it and make a difference.

Caring for ourselves and each other is a primary responsibility for all human beings. Sometimes we are so busy with our lives that we fail to see signs of despair, hopelessness, desperation and depression in those we live and/or work with. Failure to recognize these signs could have life threatening consequences.

When we consider that 80% of suicides in Australia are men, it is important to develop an understanding of "life problems" in our own lives and the lives of others around us. Suicide is not a standard list of risk factors, it is always contextual and personal. Suicide prevention is everyone's business.

When dealing with "intense" life problems, thoughts of suicide can be a "normal" reaction and become part of the problem solving process.  Research tells us that most of us will have "suicidal thought" during our lives, but we will not harbour them. It is when people can't get rid of bad thoughts and ideas that it becomes a problem. Suicide can affect anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Three things you need to commit to memory about suicide are:-

  • People don't want to die, they want to stop the pain.
  • It is safe to talk about it.
  • Know where to go for help (Lifeline, 131 114, Mensline 1300 789 978)

Our educational programs, philosophy is to assist and encourage men to be able to identify who their mates are. Our experience, based on research and anecdotal information, is that many people, particularly men, in our fast moving society have not identified key people in their lives who they can turn to in times of distress and crisis.

The Regional Men's Health Initiative promotes the simple slogan "before it all gets too much "Talk to a Mate" or talk it over. This slogan is the basis of all our initiatives.  Suicide awareness is mentioned and part of every education session we present, but not the focus.

We do however have one 2 hour education session titled, "Looking after your Mates (are you okay??) that does focus on suicide awareness and primary care.

"Primary Care" is ordinary people looking after "Their Mates". We promote an inclusive responsibility that everyone is a primary carer of family, friends and neighbours. Our focus is always on "ordinary people caring for people" appropriately supported by good medical and psychological services.

Most of us will not know how others around us are feeling unless we care enough to ask. Warning signs may not be obvious but any changes from the normal in respect to appearance, behaviour and/or conversation may provide a vital clue.

World Suicide Prevention Day is on the 10th September, let's have that conversation and if you are concerned about someone ask "how are you going?"

If you are seeking support and/or information contact Lifeline 131 114, the Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 and/or Mensline Australia 1300 78 9978.

Owen and the Team RMHI

delivered by Wheatbelt Men's Health (Inc.)
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401
Phone: 08 9690 2277
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.