The 2013 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report on the health of Australian males is yet another confronting reminder of the prevalence of depression, anxiety and suicide in Australian males. In adults aged 25 and over, the rate of deaths due to suicide is 22 deaths per 100,000 males compared to 6 per 100,000 females. One in four deaths (25%) among males aged 25-29 years is attributed to suicide. This prevalence remains at these alarming levels in the 30-34 year age group at 24% and 21% in the 35-39 year old age group. The economic and social costs are enormous. Most important is the immense and long-term grief and disruption to families and friends.
Better detection and diagnosis of male symptoms by improving the diagnostic tools available and by educating primary and also tertiary health care providers on the differences between male and female manifestation of depression and anxiety symptoms is a priority research direction for the Centre for Men’s Health. As highlighted by the Centre’s MAILES study and independent studies,we know that a physical ailment significantly increases the risk for depression and suicide and provides an opportunity for targeted intervention. The Centre’s research includes the development of these tools in chronic disease management, as part of a multidisciplinary and holistic approach to care.