Untangling men’s depression and suicide




We have been trying to unravel the pathways between men’s depression and suicide for a long time. This work has been driven by an uneasy relationship where men’s low rates of diagnosed depression starkly contrast with their high suicide rates. This isn’t to suggest that the only route to suicide is depression, but we know that depression is a significant risk factor for male suicide.


Deaths by suicide for Australian males occur at a rate three times greater than that for females.


The most recent Australian data reports male deaths due to suicide in 2018 at 2,320, with suicide rate amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men more than double the national male rate.


Our aim is to map the pathways and factors that underpin connections between depression and suicide, so we can build targeted programs to help reduce male suicide.


We often compare the complexities of research on male depression and suicide to the complexities of the ‘black box’ flight recorder. Like all black box searches, we are looking for important information to better understand and guide future actions.


Three key insights have emerged from the latest research and our evolving interpretations guide the development of community-based programs to reduce male suicide.

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