Men told to toughen up and ask for help – the stats don’t lie

Sarah Wiedersehn
(Australian Associated Press)

Be a man and ask for help.

Lifeline Australia has launched a new campaign to break down the traditional yet “outdated” ideas about masculinity that have prevented men from reaching out at critical periods in their life.

Some 75 per cent of all suicides in Australia are by men, yet only about 40 per cent of people who contact Lifeline are men.

Great strength is needed to talk about being stressed about money and work, or about feeling low, says the national charity’s CEO Pete Shmigel.

“We are not asking any man to be less of man, in fact we are asking them to be more of man,” Mr Shmigel said.

It’s estimated 80 to 85 per cent of Australians are impacted by suicide.

Mr Shmigel says its extraordinary to think that despite 25 straight years of economic growth, suicide is at a 10 year high.

“It is this undercurrent phenomenon that is taking place in our midst,” he said.

Saving lives can often be as simple as having a chat with a mate down the pub or with a girlfriend or wife.

“It’s sometimes OK to be sad, it’s sometime OK to be stuffed up,” Mr Shmigel said.

“What’s not OK and what can become toxic and deadly is when we kind of push that away, force it aside, don’t find a way to have a talk about it.”

Lifeline’s crisis support and suicide prevention services offer anonymity and confidentiality to men, he said.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

Multicultural Mental Health Australia

Local Aboriginal Medical Service available from


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