ON AUSTRALIA DAY, men on the Gold Coast will be doing something a little different to the traditional BBQ and beach celebration; this year, they’ll be donning their razors and removing their much loved facial hair in the name of suicide prevention.
Organiser Ryan Adams has been personally impacted by suicide and, after a challenge by a friend, he decided to remove his beard for Lifeline.
He is organising his friends to take part in the campaign to raise funds for Lifeline and awareness of the importance of seeking help.
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Looking at registered deaths in 2012, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported suicide as the leading cause among people aged 25-44.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data also reveal that suicide rate among men is almost four times greater than that of women. When it comes to young men, suicide is the single largest cause of death in Australia.
“In February this year, my brother Nathan chose to end his life. He was 38 years old. I have since found out that suicide is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 44!” said Carl, one of the participants in the campaign.
“I believe a problem shared is less of a problem. I have been growing my hair and growing a beard since losing my brother, but will willingly shave my beard to raise funds for suicide awareness,” said Carl.
Gayle Stuart-Murray, Site Manager for Lifeline Services on the Gold Coast echoed the importance of seeking help.
“If you don’t acknowledge stress, or release it through discussion or action, it can affect your mental health; that’s where the Lifeline Crisis Line can help. Just by calling 13 11 14, you can talk to someone about your concerns 24-hours a day,” Ms Stuart-Murray said.
“Men need to feel comfortable and willing to reach out. We all have a role to play in reducing suicide and the stigma around seeking help. The Beards Off campaign is helping to make this a reality,” Ms Stuart-Murray said.
Lifeline services in Queensland are operated by UnitingCare Community, a state-based community service organisation. To find out about other UnitingCare Community services, please visit www.uccommunity.org.au.
To support these young men please visit http://beardsoff.gofundraise.com.au/cms/home.