HEALTH Minister Roger Cook visited Graylands Hospital last Thursday to announce funding to address the alarming rate of suicide in men in farming communities, and to develop a statewide Men’s Health and Wellbeing Policy.
The Minister made the announcement at the Mt Claremont facility, which held a Men’s Health Festival as part of International Men’s Health Week from June 12-18.
The McGowan Government pledged to provide mental health and wellbeing education for men in regional and remote farming communities, who were identified as a priority population under the statewide suicide prevention strategy.
Mr Cook said the policy would focus on men’s physical health, mental health and wellbeing.
“There are a number of key indicators where men’s health needs greater focus, including improving the gap in life expectancy, the higher risks of obesity, alcohol abuse and rates of suicide,” Mr Cook said.
“We need a statewide strategy to help support the National Male Health Policy here in WA, and to complement the WA Women’s Health Strategy, and the Aboriginal Men’s Health Strategy.”
The Mental Health Commission has awarded $310,000 in support to the Regional Men’s Health Initiative, and $120,000 for the Health and Wellbeing Policy to complement WA Women’s Health Strategy and WA Aboriginal Men’s Health Strategy.
“Mental health is of particular concern as nationwide men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women, and in 2012 statistics showed that men living in remote areas had a 78 per cent higher risk than men living in major cities,” Mr Cook said.
“I am very pleased to be making this funding announcement at Graylands Hospital as it waves the chequered flag for Men’s Health Week and this year’s theme of Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: Keeping the Balance.
“This hospital and its people look after some of the most vulnerable men in our community and should be commended.”