Six men commit suicide in Australia every day and men are three times more likely to take their own lives. In fact, suicide remains the leading cause of death of Australians aged between 15 and 44.
And for every death by suicide, as many as 30 more people attempt to end their lives.
Gotcha4Life is our new charity working to save lives by letting men know it’s OK to discuss your mental health – and by giving them someone to talk to.
Gotcha4Life is working on several projects – or pillars- to make this a reality. One of these pillars is a partnership with Lifeline.
Lifeline is a national charity providing essential 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Gotcha4Life has now teamed up with Lifeline to bring down these shocking statistics.
Currently there are 3000 crisis counsellors manning Lifeline phones across Australia, but according to CEO Peter Shmigel, they still only get to 86% of the calls.
“We need 300 extra volunteer counsellors,” says Peter. “But it’s no ordinary volunteering role because it requires a huge level of commitment.”
Volunteers must undergo 92 hours of training, an e-learning course, then another 90 hours of supervised on-the-job training, costing around $3500 per qualified telephone counsellor. Lifeline absorbs the bulk, leaving the individual volunteer to commit up to $600 out of their own pocket.
“Many of our volunteers have been touched by suicide and want to help, so they’re prepared to pay, but we are losing potential counsellors because the costs are prohibitive.”
Therefore, Gotcha4 Life will sponsor the training of Lifeline volunteers- particularly, men.
Gotcha4Life co-founder, media personality and TripleM radio presenter Gus Worland says studies show men calling crisis support service respond better to male counsellors. “ We are working to ensure enough men are answering the phones,” he says. “Gotcha4Life will also conduct programs encouraging men in crisis to seek help.”
Mr Shmigel is thrilled to have Gotcha4Life on board. “75% of people who die by suicide are male,” he says, “and 40% of the people who contact Lifeline are male. There are not enough men asking for help when they need it. Gotcha4Life is making it OK for men to be practical about their mental health.”
“Gus is doing a great job giving men a lesson in self-reliance,” he says. “He’s letting men know it’s normal male behaviour to put up your hand and ask for help.”