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Conference to tackle high male suicide rate

Filed under: Child Support,General,Men's Health — Downunder @ 1:25 am Thu 6th October 2005

Insert (I can’t blame men for leaving NZ, when I see these engineered political cover-ups, I wonder why I would even want to exist on the same planet as these people. Perhaps we could have a conference about the number of men that have committed suicide in the last 6 months while being pursued by IRD child support.)

New Zealand’s alarmingly high rate of male suicide will be the focus of a conference in Christchurch next week.

Organised by Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand (Spinz), the conference will look at ways of accessing and supporting the emotional well-being of males, and examine prevention.

Spinz director Merryn Stratham said that while the overall suicide rate had been declining since 1998, there were still 350 male suicides in 2002, compared with 110 female.

The rate was higher for male Maori and meant New Zealand had the sixth-highest rate of male suicide within OECD countries.

“Men are dying by suicide at completely disproportionate rates and we must find ways to prevent this,” Ms Stratham said.

Every suicide had devastating effects on families, friends and communities.

Conference delegates will examine suicide prevention strategies in England and Scotland, along with strategies working specifically with Maori and Pacific people.

The gathering is being held during Mental Health Awareness Week, in recognition of the links between mental health and suicide.

Note on Historic Research. New Zealand Medical Journal June 2003


  1. 2005 Symposium: Males and Suicide — Pathways Forward

    Request for Attendance Subsidy

    Please send completed applications by 5pm: Friday 7th October
    Send to: [email protected]

    Priority for these limited sponsorships will be given to:
    ? young people who are studying, in order to increase access to their learning in relation to suicide prevention and
    ? people who provide services for families that have been bereaved by suicide, or families that are supporting individuals who have made suicide attempts.
    NAME:…Peter Joseph Burns……………………………………………………………………………………….
    ETHNICITY:…New Zealand ………………………………………………………..AGE: 45………….……..
    27 ElizabethStreet Rolleston . Phone 3473278 or 0211456982 ………………………………………………………………………………………….………………………………………………………………………………………….………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    Invalids benefit

    A 5 year veteran of a major depressive episode caused by false allegations of sexual abuse and serious domestic violence.

    I am advocate and McKenzie friend for many heart broken Fathers in the Family Court I try in all events to insure that any Children involved remain as innocent parties and remain stable. I try and arrange a mutual agreement and provide equitable Parent Plan Templates working always for a swift resolution so all adversity can be avoided.

    I have alerted the Judiciary in present proceedings before the Court to the term “Parental alienation Syndrome (PAS) “ which is the brainwashing or classical conditioning of the children by the custodial parent. This condition is often the direct cause of innocent Fathers committing suicide. I know of several here In New Zealand.

    I am in no doubts there is a correlation between PAS and male suicide. I was very close to taking my life not to long ago due the adverse affects of this new age phenomenon.
    I have an irrational commitment to the New Zealand Family and a passion to destroy PAS, as I believe this will be a positive move for many.
    I have extensive dealings with Canterbury psychiatrists and psychologists since 2001 and I am currently working with a consultant clinical psychologist John C Watson and psychiatrist Dr Mark Earthroll in my own personal case.
    I hope I can attend this symposium as I have a lot to offer the New Zealand Family as I can provide support and friendly advise for couples considering separation or divorce.
    My experience as a client of the system can testify to my knowledge on males and suicide.
    Kind regards
    P J Burns — dad4justice






    [email protected]
    03 3666 910
    021 572225

    Comment by Peter Burns — Thu 6th October 2005 @ 5:40 am

  2. Bevan,

    The elusive “causal link” eh? The conference topic sounds a little narrow in focus.

    My personal feeling is that, if you choose to research this in a structured manner, you will need to broaden the thrust of your research to give it crediblity.

    My thinking runs along the lines that a Father being pursued by the Child Support Agency (their correct name) has also been afflicted with:

    1. A separation from his children;
    2. Custody and/or access issues being complicated by the interference of the family court;
    3. An alleged child support tax liability;
    4. the inevitable debts arising from a separation;

    At least all of these stressors need to be factored into your research or it loses credibility.

    I.e. of the men who commited suicide in the last 6 months:

    * how many were a Dad?
    * how many were living full-time in the same house as their children?
    * how many separated from their children had acceptable (at least 50%) access to their children?
    * how many were afflicted with child tax [via the CS Act (1991)]?
    * how many had an alleged child tax debt with the child support agency?

    Trust this is clear and may prove useful.

    The causal link may be there, but it needs careful and considered research to make the results credible.

    Mark Shipman

    Comment by MarkS — Thu 6th October 2005 @ 8:15 am

  3. Suicide Research.
    Unfortunately the facts were established long ago. It is not and has never been a question of research, but a question of when we stop hiding statistics and when stop marginalizing fathers. The issues that arise here are integrity, accountability, ideology, social policy, and the consequences. I’m sure Stuart Birks want mind me quoting his 1996 article as an example.
    Marital Breakdown and Suicide
    There is an Australian study on this topic published in the Journal of Family Studies Vol.1 No.2, October 1995. It is by Cantor C H and Slater P J and entitled “Marital breakdown, Parenthood, and Suicide”.
    Some details:
    “Subjects were 1375 people who suicided in Queensland between 1990 and 1992 inclusive.”
    – Separated males committed suicide at 6.2 times the rate of married males.
    – Separated females committed suicide at 1.7 times the rate of married females.
    Suicide rates per 100,000 (read off a graph, so figures are approximate)
    Married people by age and sex:
    – Male:
    o 15-29 24
    o 30-54 16
    o 55+ 21
    – Female:
    o 15-29 7
    o 30-54 5
    o 55+ 6
    Separated people by age and sex:
    – Male:
    o 15-29 150
    o 30-54 120
    o 55+ 65
    – Female:
    o 15-29 15
    o 30-54 10
    o 55+ 0
    [From these figures I would estimate that the separated male suicide rate is possibly 12 times the separated female rate.]
    Children “could well contribute to the observed different suicide rates, as females are more commonly the principal parents during separation”. (p.99)
    There are several macro data studies published in the Journal of Marriage and the Family linking divorce and suicide rates in general. These include one by Trovato F, “The Relationship between Marriage Dissolution and Suicide: The Canadian Case” Vol48, May 1986, pp.341-348. There are others for Norway and elsewhere, some of which are more recent.

    Stuart Birks
    3 May, 1996

    Comment by Bevan Berg — Thu 6th October 2005 @ 10:47 am

  4. For the benefit of Mark refer NZMJ June 2003

    Comment by Bevan Berg — Thu 6th October 2005 @ 11:13 am

  5. Bevan,

    Many thanks for the references.

    While I understand you feel the facts were established long ago, I’m still looking for an irrefutable causal link between “state encouraged separation” and/or child tax and increased male suicide in NZ.

    Thanks again for the references,


    Comment by MarkS — Thu 6th October 2005 @ 2:55 pm

  6. Perhaps you could give us an example of what as a minimum requirement would constitute a irrefutable causal link between “state encouraged separation” and/or
    child tax and increased male suicide in NZ, in your mind.

    Comment by Bevan Berg — Thu 6th October 2005 @ 3:11 pm

  7. Bevan,

    You asked for an example of a minimum requirement for a causal link between child tax and Father suicide.

    I’ve waited until I read the medical journal article you referred me to (many thanks for that) to give me some idea of the research that has already been conducted.

    The following are, I believe, a minimum to begin linking male suicide to the evils of the DPB (state encouraged separation) and/or child tax:

    * how many were a Dad?
    * how many were living full-time in the same house as their children?
    * how many separated from their children had acceptable (at least 50%) access to their children?
    * how many were afflicted with child tax [via the CS Act (1991)]?
    * how many had an alleged child tax debt with the child support agency?

    Also of interest should be the possible link between significant child tax events and the rate of suicide.

    For example, the anti-CLark and her worshippers changed the maximum income assessable for child tax (off the top of my head, this was in 2000) from twice the average wage to 2.5 times the average wage and indexed it to the CPI. This was a significant event because over the 12 months following the increase in the maximum, child tax “debt” doubled.

    What correlation is there between the increase in the maximum and the rate of suicide over the following 12-24 months? If there were a significant increase in the rate of suicide this might indicate a link. If the proportion of those committing suicide who were a Dad, separated from their children and in debt to the child supporttax agency also increased, then it seems more than likely child tax is linked to Father suicide.

    Trust this is useful,

    Mark Shipman

    Comment by Mark Shipman — Fri 7th October 2005 @ 12:21 pm

  8. The reason I pointed you to the Medical Journal was because of the date. June 2005. It is now October when a public announcement is made before a pre arranged conference. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what’s going on. Good luck with your endeavours to obtain information and even better luck with any funding attempts you might be considering.

    Comment by Bevan Berg — Fri 7th October 2005 @ 1:50 pm

  9. does anyone accually care how the male feels about all this, as a parent who has to pay an unfair amount of child support and cannot get access to my children because the mother has hidden herself to well (I’m still trying to get access)I accually feel victimised by incessent phone calls from IRD who want more and more but are unintersested in weather I get to see my children or not. who cares about the man they arent supposed to have feelings just open the wallet and bend over. I’m sick of it I’m lucky enough to have a partner now who cares but if it wasnt for her I probably one have been one of new zealands statistics. It has effected my health and most certainly effected my mental health.the abilility to trust the system we live under is non exsistant as no matter what the fathers of new zealands children will pay in one way or the other weather it be with their lives or with their livley hoods……… who cares their only men right?

    Comment by Pete — Tue 31st January 2006 @ 10:48 pm

  10. Interesting. I am currently trying to put all this together for an article in Father & Child and would appreciate more thoughts and personal stories. email me at [email protected]

    I too wonder about the link between PAS and suicide and I am particularly interested in the question in comment 9 : who is caring to ask what MEN are feeling/thinking? After all, it is THEM that are dying. Statistics are too vulnerable to manipulation, and are undoubtedly horrendously innacurate. Can we say the drunk driver who smashes into a tree is a suicide? If we knew more about his current situation, perhaps he should be included in the figures. Mark Shipman’s questions are excellent. It seems those statistics are not compiled in NZ. Therefore, his death is not added to the total of suicides. Not rocket science.

    Pete (comment 9) how would you feel about an interview (written or oral)?

    Comment by Peter Walker — Fri 17th February 2006 @ 9:10 am

  11. Peter Burns – did you get the subsidy, and did you attend the symposium?

    Comment by Peter Walker — Fri 17th February 2006 @ 9:11 am

  12. Hi Peter
    Yes I did get the subsidy and I attended the two-day symposium titled males and suicide — the pathway forwards.
    I went along to the conference with an open mind & a positive attitude that I could get some understanding of the problems that men face once alienated from their children. I don’t think the word Father, Mother, Children, or Parents were mentioned by any of the quest speakers. The exception being that of an extremely switched on police officer from south Auckland who works with young men and their families in an effort to keep them away from the gang cultures. We keep in contact. I was extremely disappointed, as there was no acknowledgement of family separation as trigger for male suicide. There was plenty of talk about homosexuals and it was sick to watch their antics and it was little wonder a serious rift developed among suicide experts (Professor Annette Beautrais) over policies targeting male suicide. I was disgusted at the whole debacle, as was an elderly Court Victim Support Lady whom I sat with. It is plainly obvious that nobody at the symposium wanted to talk about family estrangement, PAS, parents or depression of hetro- sexual men and the direct link to suicide. I was very close to taking the old lead pill a couple of years back and the Family of a friend, a Dad who blew his head off last year were both major factor’s in my attendance at the conference. I wanted to stop other young dads taking their lives after they became the victims of false allegations made to gender bias government agencies.
    I would be happy to assist in anyway possible to get the focus on the disproportionate rate of suicide in males as it is a major area that needs to be addressed.

    Comment by Peter Burns — Fri 17th February 2006 @ 4:12 pm

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