Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 November 2010) . . Page.. 5475 ..
cast in the spotlight for a sustained month of activity and reflection. It allows us as a community to acknowledge that our own health is important and that we must look after it through prevention and promotion activities. For some, this might be as simple as going and getting a regular health check-up.
This year we saw the national male health policy launched by the Department of Health and Ageing, focusing on the health needs of males and the social determinants that impact upon men’s health—a clear and specific strategy around the health needs of men. In the ACT, building a stronger foundation, a framework for promoting mental health and wellbeing in the ACT, draws specific attention to men’s mental health needs. We do know that men have significantly high suicide rates, that men have unique mental health issues and needs and that men face barriers to accessing services and support. We are working to address these issues, both in conjunction with national initiatives and in building upon our own local initiatives and services, to specifically address men’s mental health needs, issues regarding stigma, literacy and barriers to access and inclusive practice.
Movember is a high impact awareness campaign that gives due emphasis to men’s health needs and elicits support to talk about and address men’s health needs, not just in the health arena but more broadly; it reaches right into and across the community.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.42): I thank Mrs Dunne for bringing this forward. It is a really important issue and I think it is something that has really taken off. I first became aware of Movember just after being elected to the Assembly. I had a group of uni students approach me and ask me to help them promote Movember, which I was very happy to do. Ms Gallagher touched on some of us who are follicly challenged in the facial region, and I am one of those, but it is ironic that when I look at many of the people who grow the best moustaches they often do not have much hair on their head, so it is probably one of those things that sort of balances itself out—
Mr Hargreaves: Hello!
MR SESELJA: John Hargreaves notwithstanding. I do have a picture here, which I am happy to table, that backs up my claim. Nonetheless, I am one of those rare Croatian Australians who are facially follicly challenged. But I was very happy to support them with my fake mo, because it is a great cause, men’s health. Men’s suicide rates, as I have highlighted on a number of occasions in this place and other places, are far too high, as are female suicide rates.
We know that for a particular demographic of men the issue of depression is very serious and significant. What Movember does, I think, really engages men in a way that very few other fundraising events can. There is something about it—its simplicity, and the fact that it is also a bit of a challenge when some men can demonstrate just how much facial hair they can grow in a short space of time. Some are high profile examples. Tom Learoyd-Lahrs was playing for Australia on the weekend and has a set of handlebars that I think need to be seen to be believed, so he is clearly getting into the spirit. We have seen a number of the Wallabies who have far less impressive mos—nothing as impressive as Mr Hargreaves’s regular mo, although I think he should be shaving it off every November.