Australian Government Funding Landmark Male Suicide Prevention Project

"Male suicide is preventable."

Australian Government Funding Landmark Male Suicide Prevention Project

The Buoy Project – funded by the Australian Government’s ​​Medical Research Future Fund – is aiming to prevent male suicide in Australia. DMARGE spoke to Dr Zac Seidler, one of the chief investigators on The Buoy Project, to learn more…

Thankfully, mental health is no longer the ‘taboo’ subject it once was. However, Australia – as well as the rest of the world – still has a long way to go.

For example, almost a third of Australians think ‘positive thinking’ is a viable way to improve their mental health (it’s not) and almost all Aussies refuse to cut out alcohol even though doing so would improve one’s mental health.

Plus, Australia’s male suicide rates are through the roof; on average, seven men a day die by suicide in Australia. Just look at NRL legend Paul Green, who sadly took his own life a few weeks ago.

This is why The Buoy Project was launched. The Buoy Project – which ultimately aims to prevent male suicide – is a collaboration between five universities and 14 community organisations (including Lifeline) and was funded by the Australian Government’s ​​Medical Research Future Fund.

DMARGE spoke to Dr Zac Seidler, one of the chief investigators on The Buoy Project, to learn more about the project and how the project plans to reduce male suicide rates in Australia.

“Our key goal as researchers is to better understand male suicide, how it happens, and why, so that we can learn how to prevent it. At the core of The Buoy Project, is stopping men [from] dying too young by researching interventions across the country that go to where men are and give them the space and place to connect with each other.”

Dr Zac Seidler

Dr Seidler is personally passionate about preventing male suicide and believes that prevention is a completely achievable task if researched properly – which is why he got involved with The Buoy Project.

The Buoy Project, funded by the Australian Government, is conducting research to help prevent male suicide nationwide. Image Credit: Getty Images

“Male suicide is preventable, it’s just that to date we really haven’t sought to understand it in all of its complexities. As a psychologist working on the frontline, I want to make sure we are doing our utmost as a community to create scaffolding for these guys to make sure they feel heard, and to keep them safe.”

Dr Zac Seidler

The Buoy Project has just begun testing seven different suicide prevention programs designed for boys and men via a series of randomised controlled trials. Once the trials are complete, the team will conclude how effective they were and will model what would happen if the effective programs were rolled out nationwide.

It’s an initiative DMARGE fully backs but The Buoy Project isn’t due to be completed until 2024, so what do men suffering from mental health issues and suicidal thoughts do in the meantime? Dr Seidler highly recommends talking to at least one person – whether that be a trusted family member/friend or a professional – about what you’re going through.

“A problem shared is a problem halved. It’s not always easy to find the words to describe what’s happening to you, but in my experience, you only benefit from finding a trusted person in your life to talk to about this stuff. If you let it run rampant in your mind without any external information, it calcifies and becomes more and more difficult to see a way out.”

Dr Zac Seidler

“Reach out, check in regularly, seek professional support and get the help you deserve. Some guys going through this think that they need to suffer in silence, alone, but the reality is that support is there, it works and things can definitely get better if you put your hand up and admit to yourself and others that you might be struggling.”

Hopefully, the programs The Buoy Project are currently trialling are successful at preventing male suicide and are then implemented across Australia. And if not, at least The Buoy Project is creating more awareness and will encourage more to try and help the current (and tragic) male suicide rate.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, please contact Beyond BlueLifelineSuicide Call Back ServiceMensLine Australia or see your GP for help. And if you wish to learn more about The Buoy Project, click here.

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