A new champion with an international profile has joined the fight against male suicide in Australia.
Englishman Glen Poole moved to Australia last year and is already taking a lead role through an organisation he has established here called the Stop Male Suicide Project.
Mr Poole is involved in a series of seminars being rolled out across Australia, with the Brisbane event held last Friday.
Now based in Brisbane, Mr Poole has a longstanding interest in male suicide prevention.
UK co-ordinator for International Men’s Day since 2010 and founder and chair of the National Conference for Men and Boys (2010-2013), Mr Poole has championed the work of various suicide prevention initiatives – in particular the charity CALM UK (The Campaign Against Living Miserably).
In 2013 and 2015, Mr Poole worked with CALM to facilitate the annual summit of the Cheshire and Merseyside Suicide Reduction Network.
He also worked with CALM on its innovative Year Of The Male project in 2014, which aimed to ‘turn male suicide into a national conversation’.
Through this project he met Martin Seager, a consultant psychiatrist with the suicide prevention charity, Samaritans, who invited him to deliver keynote speeches at the National Male Psychology Conferences in London in 2014 and 2015.
Research in Australia reveals that every year 190 Australians working in the construction industry take their own lives. This means we lose a construction worker every second day to suicide.
And chillingly, construction workers are six times more likely to die from suicide than an accident at work.
For young construction workers, the facts are that they are well over two times more likely to take their own lives than other young Australian men.
Research by the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention suggests a widening of disparities in suicide rates by occupational class, particularly among males.
Males generally had higher suicide rates in occupations which involved physical work (i.e., labouring, agriculture, machine operators, and technical and trades employment).
Mr Poole said the findings from this study had important implications for improving suicide prevention.
“Initiatives should target those working in these high-risk occupational groups both before and during economic downturns,” he said.
Mr Poole has become well-known in the Australian men’s health sector before relocating to Brisbane with his partner Jakkie.
He presented at the National Men’s Health Gathering in Brisbane (2013) and Central Coast (2015). He has also worked with Greg Millan of Men’s Health Services in Australia to deliver a series of his ‘Helping Men Get Help’ workshops to frontline professionals in Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle and Tasmania.
This year, the founder of International Men’s Day (IMD), Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, from The University of the West Indies, accepted Mr Poole’s proposal to make the global theme for IMD in 2016 “Talk About Male Suicide”.
This recognises the fact that IMD 2016 will be held on November 19, which coincides with International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.
As an Australian resident, Mr Poole is committed to continuing his advocacy for men’s health and wellbeing and supporting existing work to reduce the high male suicide rate in Australia through the Stop Male Suicide project.