'Life not worth living' say many young men

ABC News 29 July

More than 10 per cent of young men in rural, regional and remote NSW have thought about taking their own lives according to new research.

And the survey which has uncovered this alarming data has also delivered evidence that online methods of engagement could revolutionise treatment of mental illness and wider health issues.

"This is not just about health services; this is about how we change community attitudes and how we actually do things very differently," Associate Professor Jane Burns, Chief Executive Officer of the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, explained.

"I think for the first time that technology provides us with an opportunity, particularly for young people who live in regional and remote communities, where access to professionals is low.

"Rather than try and ensure that young men reach traditional services, we need to think about non-traditional models that ensure that they get the right help at the right time.

"That might be a very different model to the one that we have at the moment," Assoc Prof Burns continued.

In concert with Movember and beyondblue, the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) produced a report titled "Game On - Exploring the Impact of Technologies on Young Men's Mental Health and Wellbeing".

It revealed that 20 per cent of young Australian men aged between 16 and 25 feel their life was not worth living and that 42 per cent experience psychological distress.

"To actually see a self-report where young men themselves are saying that they feel that life is hardly worth living - and it's up around the 20 per cent - really sets off some warning bells," Ms Burns said.

"Our research showed that young men were not great at wanting to go and speak to a doctor or a psychiatrist and what that means for us is that we need to identify different ways of engaging with young men.

"The survey shows us that the technology platform itself provides us with a great opportunity for us to think about how we might use that to get better engagement with our young men," Ms Burns added.

For people who live in rural, regional and remote communities actually having to travel to get some support is incredibly difficult, Ms Burns commented.

"We are saying; 'can we actually use this (technology) platform to reach out to people in their homes, in a space where they are comfortable in a way that they feel comfortable using'.

"If we can do that, we have this wonderful opportunity to start to really embrace and engage in health promotion and wellbeing-focused care that is very different to a traditional medical model," Ms Burns continued.

Anyone seeking support and information can visit the reachout.com website or telephone Lifeline on 13 11 14.

To go to original article click here.


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