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Understanding the facts about men’s mental health


The facts on men and suicide


Sadly, around the world every 40 seconds a person dies by suicide. In Australia, 9 people die by suicide every day and approximately 7 of those are men. Suicide is the leading cause of death for young people in Australia, particularly in those aged 15-24. Data reported by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report that during 2020 there were 3,139 deaths by suicide, 2,384 of these deaths were men. Data also suggests that males are 3 to 4 times more likely to die by suicide than females. Within the male population, those aged 85 and over are most at risk with the highest rates (36.2 deaths per 100,000). However high rates of suicide among men are also recorded for those aged 40-44 and 50-54 (both 27.1 per 100,000). Data suggests level of education is also a risk factor for men, with males aged 25-54 with secondary school education or less have a cumulative suicide risk 2.6 times higher than those men with a university degree. Despite this, men are less likely to seek help. Data suggests only a quarter of males will reach out for mental health support.


The facts on men and mental health


While men might be documented as having lower prevalence rates than females among mental health conditions, it’s important to highlight men do experience a myriad of mental health challenges:


  • 1 in 8 men in Australia will experience depression in their lifetime

  • 1 in 5 men will experience anxiety at some stage during

  • 40% of people living with binge eating disorder are men

  • Over one third of Australians living with an eating disorder are men

  • Men are reported to have a lifetime prevalence rate of 5-6% for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Men live with personality disorders, while they have lower rates of borderline personality disorder than females (3:1) they have higher rates of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) (7.7% males: 4.8% females) and similar rates of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) to women

  • Men have high rates of Psychosis in Australia per 1,000 cases (5.4 vs 3.5).

Factors that contribute to mental health challenges in men


Activating EventsVulnerable Groups

  • Loss of job, role and/or identity

  • Farmers

  • Relationship breakdown

  • Gender diverse

  • Loss of access to seeing kids

  • Culturally and linguistically diverse

  • Financial strain

  • Indigenous Australians

  • Pending legal matters

What are the signs?


Physical ChangesBehaviour ChangesThinking Changes

  • Fatigue, tiredness, or loss of energy

  • Quitting or losing interest in things that were previously enjoyable or important, including hobbies, food or sex

  • Hopelessness/bleak future – “Things will never improve – there’s just no point.”

  • Disrupted sleep patterns (too much or too little)

  • Emotional outbursts or unexplained crying

  • Feeling alone – “No one understands.”

  • Disrupted appetite, eating habits (too much or too little) or changes in weight

  • Uncharacteristic recklessness or dangerous behaviour (for example, driving recklessly)

  • Seeking escape – “I need to get out; I can’t deal with this anymore.”

  • Lack of attention to appearance or personal hygiene

  • Uncharacteristic aggression or fighting

  • Guilt – “It’s all my fault.”

  • Evidence of self-harm

  • Social withdrawal

  • Helplessness – “It doesn’t matter what I do, bad things just happen to me.”

  • Abuse or misuse of alcohol or drugs

  • Diminished self-worth – “I’m useless.”

  • History of suicidal behaviour or self-harm

  • Hopelessness/bleak future – “Things will never improve – there’s just no point.”

  • Putting affairs in order or giving away possessions.

  • Feeling alone – “No one understands.”

  • Quitting or losing interest in things that were previously enjoyable or important, including hobbies, food or sex

  • Seeking escape – “I need to get out; I can’t deal with this anymore.”

Next month’s blog will address the factors that can serve as roadblocks for men reaching out for support around their mental health. It will discuss how we can best support men if they are struggling with their mental health.


Want to know more?



Leske, S., Adam, G., Schrader, I., Catakovic, A., Weir, B., & Crompton, D. (2020). Suicide in Queensland: Annual Report 2020. Brisbane, Queensland, Australia: Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University


Suicide worldwide in 2019: global health estimates. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2021. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.





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