Menslink is a local not for profit organisation that has been supporting young men in Canberra for almost 15 years through our free counselling, volunteer mentoring and Silence Is Deadly programs.
The Silence Is Deadly campaign is run by Menslink, in partnership with Canberra Raiders. It involves Raiders players and Menslink staff visiting schools to talk with young men that it’s okay to need help with the hassles in your life.
The key message to the young men is that we have problems at times in our lives – even professional Rugby League players – but talking and getting help gets you through them faster.
Why the ‘Silence is Deadly’ campaign is so important:
Most young men (12-25) don’t talk about their problems. While young men suffer from some form of depression/anxiety at the same rate as young women, around one in four in any given year, they are three times less likely to get help.
In Canberra alone this year that means that 3,500 male high school and college students will be affected by depression or anxiety. Only 480 will get help, with nearly 90% of sufferers staying silent about their problems with devastating consequences.
The sobering statistics:
- Young men drop out of school at nearly double the rate of young women;
- Nine out of every ten young people in Bimberi are males, rising to a staggering 24:1 ratio in the adult prison system;
- Suicide rates amongst young men 15-19 are three times that of young women, rising to nearly four times once they reach the 20-24 age group. Suicide remains the leading cause of death amongst young males, easily exceeding the nation’s road toll;
- The cost of mental illness amongst young Canberran men aged 12-25 has been estimated by Ernst & Young at $59million per year in lost productivity alone.
What we want to achieve:
- Reduce the stigma associated with seeking help amongst young men;
- Double the number of young men getting help across Canberra high schools and colleges from 500 to 1000 in 2013;
- Reduce the suicide rate among young men.
How we going to achieve it:
- Speak with young men in each Canberra school and college twice this year (two 30 minute sessions) with a Menslink staff member and Raiders players;
- Provide a website, online and printed materials that both students and teachers or support staff can access and use. These materials will encourage young men to engage with the school’s own support staff, as well as Menslink and our partners such as Headspace, Lifeline, Youth Support Line and the community service networks;
- Document the estimated number of young men accessing counselling / pastoral care services so we can compare if there is an increase in use after our visits.
What we are asking from each school:
- Commit to having two 30-45 minute sessions with your young men in years 7-12 in 2014;
- Provide a teacher(s) to coordinate and supervise during the visit, an appropriate hall or room and AV equipment (we have a short video presentation);
- Provide Menslink with the estimated number of number of young men accessing support services last year and this year (so we can compare usage rates after our visits);
- Menslink does all the rest and this program operates at zero cost to schools.
To find out more about this campaign or to get your school involved email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Menslink on (02) 6239 4699.