A Men’s Health meeting has prevented women from taking part in a two-day conference on male suicide rates.
The National Council of Women supported the decision, saying it was about participants feeling they could open up.
The Human Rights Commission said there was nothing illegal or discriminatory in the way the conference was being promoted or held.
Barry Young, President of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand told me that most enquiries they received for prostate came from women as wives and daughters. The lovely lady who organised the Men’s Health meeting in Waitakere told me (I wish I could remember her name because she does a huge amount of work for health) …. women were to be targeted for men’s health because women can make men go to the doctor.
Wairarapa suicide prevention coordinator Barry Taylor said women were excluded to encourage men to take responsibility for their own mental health. “Men’s mental health has been a hidden subject over many years. Part of the problem is that they don’t talk about their feelings and they don’t ask for help.”
Mr Taylor also said some women had asked to be part of the conference which is of no surprise because many women care about their partners, children and other male family members and male friends. But they were told “No”, they couldn’t attend.
Barry says, “So often men have delegated their emotional issues on to the women in their lives. It is vital that … we take responsibility for dealing with the issues.”
“Statistics show the urgency of the problem of depression, often fuelled by relationship breakups, alcohol and drug abuse, crime and antisocial behaviours. More than 500 people die by suicide every year but it is New Zealand men who are three times more likely to kill themselves than women across all ages and races.”Men were more reluctant to seek help or may dismiss the seriousness of their problem, he said.
I think it is excellent women have been asked to stay away. This is a men’s issue and only men can work out how men are to deal with this. I’m sure in time brochures will be available for women to read and there will be phone numbers for women to ask questions.