We know that across the globe, men are at a heightened risk of dying by suicide. This makes November an incredibly important month as vocal campaigns and awareness days launch as a call to action to address men’s mental health and male suicide.
Reducing male suicide aligns directly with LivingWorks’ mission of making all communities around the world safer from suicide. LivingWorks has spent decades targeting suicide prevention skills training toward male-dominated workplaces such as the Military and Defense, first responders and construction workplaces.
Movember is a global campaign that runs throughout the entire month of November dedicated to promoting conversation and action in support of men’s mental health and suicide prevention. In recent months LivingWorks has led more than 10 safeTALK workshops for Movember staff across the globe – including in London and in Melbourne – with more workshops planned as part of our working partnership supporting male suicide prevention. International Men’s Day – which aims to promote critical conversations surrounding men’s mental health – falls on November 19.
Military and Defense
Throughout LivingWorks’ history, more than 500,000 Military and Defense members have received our training. In the past decade, more than 100,000 members of the US Navy were LivingWorks safeTALK and ASIST trained, with more than 20,000 having received that training in 2023.
Bryan Gibb, LivingWorks Director of Suicide Prevention in North America, believes LivingWorks can play a large role in making the Military and Defense members safer from suicide.
“Our goal is to expand the work we are doing with the U.S. military to serve those who serve all of us,” says Gibb. “We have added specialized staff to reach out to decision makers in the Department of Defense to encourage adoption and expansion of our trainings – especially in the areas of Integrated Primary Prevention. In 2024 we will serve all branches of the U.S. Military – Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard, Space Force, and the National Guard.”
LivingWorks has been training Military and Defense personnel as well as veterans for 30 years across the US, for 20 years in Australia and more recently in Korea, the UK and Norway.
Rugby League and the Police
In New South Wales, Australia, LivingWorks trained its 1000th police officer this year as part of a record state-wide investment funded by NSW Health and Minister for Mental Health, Rose Jackson.
Leading the training with NSW Police is LivingWorks’ Belinda Connell, who is a former police officer herself.
“When you’re exposed to traumatic events over time, like for first responders, there’s a build-up and you’ll need to have ways to take care of yourself. Sometimes when you’re struggling you don’t see the signs in yourself, but the person you’re on a 12-hour shift with could. In fact, it is the people around us – our mates, buddies, colleagues – who are more likely to first recognize when someone starts to struggle. And we need to have the skills and confidence to start that conversation,” says Connell.
The funded training for NSW Police also extends to training youth sports clubs in a large-scale effort to help keep young people safe from suicide.
At the recent media launch of training with NSW Rugby League and the 700+ community clubs in the state, LivingWorks EVP, Development, Shayne Connell, spoke with CEO of MATES in Construction, Chris Lockwood.
LivingWorks has a long-standing partnership with MATES, who have embedded LivingWorks safeTALK and ASIST training into their employee structure across construction, mining and energy sectors.
“The work that we do with LivingWorks, it’s intrinsic to who we are and how we actually work,” says Lockwood.
UK Suicide Prevention Manager, Joann Hitchen, has been working to get construction companies involved with LivingWorks training, aiming to eventually make all construction communities safer from suicide.
“The narrative out there is that men aren’t asking for help, gladly, that is changing. Men are asking for help. We’re smashing the stigma and having those conversations and saying ‘it’s ok not to be okay,’” says Hitchen. “We know there’s lots of good work going on out there, but it’s asking what can we do as LivingWorks to support that work and make it even stronger.”
Hitchen attended an event titled Get Construction Talking on Oct. 12 of this year. She believes it highlighted how mental health is high on the agenda for several construction companies, and raising awareness could get more on board.
“There are some amazing things happening out there. I learned that sometimes it’s the small things that can make a difference,” says Hitchen. “We shine a light on it. And maybe the organisations that aren’t there yet — that haven’t realized how important it is that we all get involved — if they can see the work that is already going on out there in the world of construction, maybe they can think ‘we can do that.’”
Through our work with the Military and Defense, first responders and construction workplaces around the globe, more men are learning the importance of starting conversations about suicide and how to help their friends, family and colleagues keep safe, access help and find hope.
If this article has raised concerns for you or a loved one, remember help is always close by. Click “Find Safety” at the top of the page for a list of crisis lines in your region.