Over twenty years ago, federal member of parliament Greg Wilton took his own life. The tragedy was the culmination of a series of events which highlight how poorly we deal with vulnerable men. Three weeks earlier, Wilton had been found “in a distressed state” with his children in a car in the national park, apparently rigging a hose to the exhaust. It was widely reported as an attempted murder-suicide.
He spent time in psychiatric care, but with his Labor colleagues maneuvering to force him out of parliament and relentless hounding from the press, it wasn’t long before he tried again. This time he succeeded. On June 14, 2000, the 44-year was found dead in his car, with the exhaust hose attached.
A few years earlier Wilton had given a speech to parliament pointing out that group most likely to commit suicide in this country were men like him – adult males struggling with marital separation. He mentioned extensive research that had emerged over previous years showing “men kill themselves due to an inability to cope with life events such as relationship breakups of the kind I myself have suffered.”
In the two decades since then, that research has piled up. The case is now overwhelming that men facing relationship breakdown should be a key target of Australia’s suicide prevention policies.
There’s no way our health bureaucrats are going to let that happen. The March 2022 budget allocated $2.1 billion to services for women and girls and just $1 million to “improve long term health outcomes” for men and boys. Isn’t that extraordinary? Somehow females are seen as deserving of 2000 times more investment in their health than men, despite their more robust health resulting in four extra years of life expectancy.
What a tribute to the mighty efforts of our feminist health bureaucracy which for decades has strenuously ignored the enormous elephant sitting in their room - namely, the ever-increasing male suicide rate wiping out so many younger adult males.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged 25-44. Male vulnerability is at the heart of the problem. Look at these statistics:
- Men account for 3 in 4 of the lives lost to suicide.
- 7 of the 9 people who kill themselves every day are male.
- There have always been more male than female suicides.
- Over the past ten years males have become even more at risk.
- The male suicide rate is twice the annual road toll.
Men wiping themselves out is a hugely important health issue – yet there’s a very good reason why our politicians and feminist bureaucrats don’t want to go there. As Greg Wilton pointed out, the evidence is piling up that a key reason many of these young men are at risk is they are casualties of family breakup.
The consequent minefield that hits these men, who are frequently fathers, often proves unbearable. Most face some combination of stressful legal battles, false accusations, crippling child support payments; financial ruin and most importantly, the loss of their children.
Young farmer on the edge
Marty Grant could have been one such casualty. He had it all planned. The tough young farmer from the West Australian wheat belt had the wire around his neck. The other end was tied to a tree and the car ready to surge into motion. But he stopped himself. “I realized I couldn’t do it to my family and friends.” Marty pulled back, drove himself home, packed a bag and set off to seek help from the local nurse.
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