Academics against reducing suicide gender differences
Rift erupts over male suicide policy The Press
A serious rift has appeared among suicide experts over policies targeting male suicides.
The debate erupted yesterday as the Males and Suicides Symposium 2005 organised by Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand (Spinz) opened in Christchurch. Spinz is a non-government, New Zealand-wide information service, in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation.
Suicide researchers based at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences have challenged claims by Spinz director Merryn Statham, calling them “misleading”.
In a statement supported by six other academics, Associate Professor Annette Beautrais said yesterday Statham had pointed to the disproportionate rate of suicide in males and proposed male suicide was a major area to be addressed.
However, a clear decline in the male to female suicide ratio had occurred in recent years, she said. In 1994, four males took their own lives for every one female. By 2002 the ratio had declined to 3.2 males for every one female suicide.
“Under these circumstances the extent to which further policies to reduce gender differences are needed is debatable.”