Page 3711 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 November 2022

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his own life in the last year. It was sobering to see all of those shoes together; you got a real understanding of the toll.

Paul wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister and other federal members, and I want to read some of it here. I had been planning to mention it in an adjournment speech, which is why I have it here. He said:

Men are taking their own lives at a rate of over 25 a week in Australia … Sadly, our services in mental health do not have any aftercare for men at all. This is the time when men suicide.

Paul wrote:

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 …

There is so much wrong with the support system for men. The support systems are more detrimental than beneficial.

Paul went on to say:

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 …

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.

That is some of what Paul had to say on Monday. He is calling for the appointment of a specific minister for men. That is his call. I had a number of conversations with Paul’s supporters and some survivors of very dark times—some men who had come back from the brink, who had lived to tell tales that really needed to be told. I could see that Paul is extremely passionate about this tragic issue. He was most pleased to hear of this motion coming before this chamber today. I sent it to him so that he could look at it. He was most pleased to hear of this motion that Ms Castley was moving in this chamber today. I am sure that, like me, he would be extremely disappointed in how watered down this motion will become, if it is successfully amended.

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health, Minister for Mental Health and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (3.35): I would like to thank Ms Castley for moving this motion today, and I would like to speak in support of Minister Stephen-Smith’s amendment to the motion, particularly in relation to men’s mental health.

Every life lost to suicide has lifelong ripple effects on friends, family, colleagues and the entire community. Nationally, 75 per cent of those lives lost are men, and the same statistic applies to the ACT. We know that this is impacted by the difficulty many men experience in being able to talk about how they are feeling and access help,

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