Online has role to lift the blues

The Young and Well Co-operative Research Centre national survey, which is supported by beyondblue and Movember, revealed about 300,000 males aged between 16 and 25 felt their life was not worth living.

The Young and Well Survey also found nearly one in 10 young men thought about taking their own life in the past year and that more than four in 10 experienced psychological distress.

However, it goes on to identify the important role online technology can play in helping distressed young men and how engagement with them could be strengthened by modifying technology to suit their online behaviour.

Policy-makers must read the survey and consider its recommendations in order to tackle the mental crisis facing young men in Australia.

The results of this research are deeply concerning and emphasise the ongoing need for a focus on young men. It makes numerous, evidence-based recommendations about how to improve online services for young men that must be seriously considered.

This includes extending the operating hours of online services to better match the hours that distressed young men are online, and incorporating things such as music and video game content into the services to match their interests. The survey also identifies the need for ensuring every school has a social networking policy, ensuring all tertiary campuses provide mental health after hours and during holidays and the need for government to provide financial incentives for workplaces that prioritise e-mental health.

beyondblue has launched several campaigns and programs to help boost the mental health of young men, including Man Therapy, which helps men deal with depression and anxiety in a humorous way, and SenseAbility, which is a strength-based resilience program delivered in the classroom.

For more information on these, visit www.mantherapy.org.au or www. beyondblue.org.au/senseability.

To view the Young and Well Co-operative Research Centre national survey visit www.youngandwellcrc.org.au