Over the last 20 years, I have seen a lot of people come into the men’s movement with big promises and even bigger egos. Mostly they blow in, blow up and then blow out. Sadly, they often hurt other men in the process.
I don’t believe Paul Withall from Zero Suicide is one of those men. Tony Miller, the founder of Dads in Distress, feels like I do. We both believe Paul Withall is the real deal in his passion to help men and turn the tide of male suicide in Australia. He has a long-term strategy and is a long-term player.
Paul believes in the words of Harry S. Truman:
“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who takes the credit.”
This Monday, 21 November, Paul Withall will set up 2,500 pairs of boots on the lawn outside Parliament House, Canberra. Each boot or shoe represents one of the men or boys who commit suicide each year in Australia.
Frank Daly, representing Dads4Kids, will be one of the speakers, along with Tony Miller from Dads in Distress. Dads4Kids is one of the sponsors of this very important event. Check out Paul Withall’s ‘Resilient Dad’ video interview below and make up your own mind.
This event is an official International Men’s Day (IMD) celebration which is being held on a day the Parliamentarians can come and speak. Saturday 19 November is International Men’s Day, but Parliament House is empty on weekends. The good news is that several parliamentarians from three different political parties are coming to speak and provide a voice for those who are no longer here to speak for themselves.
Your support and donations are helping Dads4Kids support this very important campaign to assist Australian men. Please find Paul’s message to our Parliamentarians below. It is very similar to The 12pt Plan and the call by Dads4Kids for a Minister for Men almost 20 years ago.
To the Honourable Prime Minister and all Parliamentarians,
The people of Australia are in dire need of a Minister for Men, with the leading cause of CURABLE deaths in men in Australia being suicide and the rate climbing every year. It is about time our government started working on the cure.
The statistics on men’s health issues and suicide and the reasons behind the continual growth on the matters cannot be dealt with or brought to the parliament floor without a Minister for Men and a team of people working on these problems.
Men are taking their own lives at a rate of over 25 a week in Australia and our media will not shed any light on the topic. Sadly, our services in mental health do not have any aftercare for men at all. This is the time when men suicide. Phone numbers do not help if you want to be dead.
Our government keeps announcing funds being thrown at mental health in the millions believing that is going to resolve or curb the situation, but it does not change anything.
When a man has had enough and has made his mind up to kill himself, that is exactly what he will do. Phone numbers do not stop suicide in men, as men bottle things up and are afraid of feeling weak and being judged and many other things.
There is so much wrong with the support system for men. The support systems are more detrimental than beneficial.
Sadly, so many things that can make positive changes for men and society are not considered. Like death by misadventure in men who are angry and acting out, or the car accidents that could be suicide. What about the all-important drug and alcohol issues in men? These are totally different reasons for suicide with men as compared with women, and thus far there is not one Minister for Men anywhere in Australia.
As a support person helping many people daily, I come up against a brick wall every day in getting services for men, and the 20 or so men’s support Facebook groups and networks I work with all have the same problems. [I have listed these issues elsewhere.]
When ladies need help, it is so easy for us to help them get accommodation and referrals to services and that’s terrific, yet it’s almost impossible to get the same for men, and these blokes end up sleeping on our couches feeling like a burden and making them feel worse.
We have put together a list of things a Minister for Men could do. Such a Minister for Men could help the entire society deal with the domestic violence issue and things like filicide and alcohol and drug problems and accommodation issues. We have supplied some statistics on the many unique challenges that men face.
We can curb suicide in men simply by appointing a Minister for Men, and the sooner this is done the more benefits our Men, Women and our children will have.
If men are to blame for so many issues in society as the media would like to have us believe, then would not a Minister for Men be the smartest way to deal with these issues head-on, rather than playing the blame game all the time?
Resolution is finding a solution, and we have one. We need a Minister for Men in both Federal and State Governments.
Zero Suicide Team
Please shoot up a prayer for Paul Withall and if you are able to get there, he would love to see you on the lawns of Parliament House on Monday 21 November, anytime between 10AM – 4PM.
Check out this link for more info.
Oh, just one more thing. I have raised the idea with Jerome Teelucksingh, Founder of IMD, about the theme for IMD 2023: ‘Zero Male Suicide’. He is receptive to the idea. What are your thoughts? Please let me know and I will pass your opinion on to Jerome.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours for Zero Male Suicide,
PS: IMD was massive today. Full report on International Men’s Day in next week’s newsletter!