Mental health and masculinity the topic of Simon Monks Memorial Foundation forum

SEPTEMBER 26 2019 - 3:00PM

Mental health and masculinity the topic of Simon Monks Memorial Foundation forum

By Jessica Willard

Melbourne University Professor Jane Pirkis will present to 80 primary health care and community organisation workers in Ulverstone on October 1.

The relationship between masculinity, help-seeking, mental health and suicide will be the focus of a health forum in the state's North West next month.

For the second time this year the Dr Simon Monks Memorial Foundation has partnered with Healthy Tasmania to bring an internationally recognised health professional to Ulverstone.

On October 1, Melbourne University Professor Jane Pirkis will present to 80 primary health care and community organisation workers on the development of the male suicide documentary Man Up, and the associated pressures on men that reduce the likelihood they'll get help for mental health issues.

 

Professor Pirkis said the three-part documentary helped "shift the needle" around what it meant to be masculine and how societal norms contributed, with male deaths by suicide making up more than 76 per cent of cases nationally in 2018.

"Primary health is really important in terms of helping the general population with their mental health, including men," she said.

"Apart from anything else, a lot of people don't really seek help from elsewhere, but they mind find it primary care. So it's a really important gateway into help and support for people.

"Particularly in somewhere like Tasmania, where there is a reasonably significant proportion of the population living in areas where there might not be access to specialist mental health care."

Suicide was the leading cause of death among 15 to 44-year-olds in 2018 and accounted for the highest number of years of life lost.

Simon Monks Memorial Foundation trustee and North West GP Dr Emil Djakic said the statistics showed three out of four suicides in Australia were men - with Tasmania not immune.

"From a young age, boys are told to 'man up' or 'toughen up' or 'she'll be right'," he said. "These normative pressures reinforce in men's minds that talking through their problems with others is not a valid way of dealing with life."

While a confronting issue, Healthy Tasmania managing director Lucy Byrne said it was important for primary health care providers to understand the latest evidence to "help manage mental illness better".

  • Lifeline 13 11 14.

This article first appeared in The Examiner newspaper here

 

Previous Article Launceston Diabetes Clinic director Gary Kilov to host diabetes forum at Ulverstone
Next Article Healthy George Town launched with aim to boost community health
Print
431

Name:
Email:
Subject:
Message:
x