Groundbreaking new research shows Australia’s male suicide epidemic is worse than previously thought, with at-risk behaviour among blokes up to three times higher than current estimates indicate, news.com.au reports.
Mental health organisation Beyond Blue has released a world-first study investigating ambulance call-outs to men experiencing acute mental health issues, self-harm and suicidal instances.
And it highlights an urgent need for hospital treatment reform with current practices proving inadequate, experts warn.
The study revealed the rate of suicides in Australia is rising.
The study, titled Beyond the Emergency, found there were a staggering 30,197 ambulance attendances for men who had attempted suicide or had suicidal thoughts between June 2015 and July 2016.
But existing data, taken from hospital emergency department presentation statistics, identified about 10,000 cases in the same period because of the way patients were classified.
“This research tells us that suicide-related presentations to our health services by men triple when measured by ambulance data rather than hospital data alone. It tells us that what we know about male suicide is just the tip of the iceberg,” Beyond Blue chair Julia Gillard said.
On average, six men will take their own lives each day in Australia.
The organisation’s chief executive Georgie Harman said there was a “revolving door” of admissions to emergency rooms when alternative treatment options could be more effective.
It’s a view shared by Monash University Professor Dun Lubman, who led the research, and said there’s an urgent need for better care.
“If they don’t have life-threatening injuries, they shouldn’t be at emergency departments yet paramedics feel they have too few alternatives,” Professor Lubman said.
“Our paramedics need more support and people with acute mental health issues or who feel suicidal need better models of care.”
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