The statistics surrounding boys and young men in Australia
Currently, the situation of young male health remains a significant issue in our Australian community. Alcohol and illicit drug use are on the increase as is mental health issues, including depression and suicide. Urgent preventative programs for young men’s health are needed so we can start to reverse these alarming trendlines.
Indeed, there is much work to be done.
In a 2012 report, it was revealed that untreated mental illness in young men costs the Australian economy $387,000 per hour and three billion dollars annually in lost productivity. The present costs would far exceed this figure.
Worse still are the facts surrounding young men in regional, remote and rural areas. The statistics reveal these areas are more vulnerable to negative social outcomes. Research in regional NSW indicates that amphetamine use, particularly crystal methamphetamine or "ice" as it’s known on the streets, has risen by up to 180% in the last two years in regional centres like Coffs Harbour, Cessnock and Wagga Wagga. Along with this, male youth suicide is estimated to occur at almost twice the rate of metropolitan areas, making it by far the highest cause of death for young male aged 17-24 years.
Many of these negative social trends are implicated as being precursors to larger societal adult issues including domestic violence, alcohol fuelled violence, poor long term health and long term unemployment. For example, the younger the age of first alcohol consumption, the higher the propensity to develop alcohol dependence. This, when coupled with comorbid personality characteristics and psychiatric factors, such as poor impulse control, anxiety and a high propensity to risk-take, are implicated as contributing factors to the increasing occurrence of alcohol fuelled violence in Australia.
Our National Male Health Policy (which has expired) was an attempt to address the social issues and barriers that impact on young men's health. Sadly, it has not been given the resources or priority to keep it current.
The Top Blokes Foundation, through its advocacy work and positions on key local, state and national committees, is working tirelessly to improve the social well-being and mental health issues facing Australian young men. To read about our results and the positive impact of our programs that work to engage young men, please click here