Young men at risk over Christmas, experts warn

17 December 2009

University of Sydney experts are warning families and friends of young men to check in with them over Christmas when the risk of mental health problems, suicide and risky behaviour increase.

Jane Burns of the Inspire Foundation, said: "Over the next week we are promoting the message that young guys are especially vulnerable over Christmas, when rates of suicide, motor vehicle accidents and drug and alcohol related violence are particularly high.

"It's important to have a conversation about how your son, brother, friend, mate or boyfriend is feeling."

Researchers at the University of Sydney's Brain & Mind Research Institute, together with the Inspire Foundation, are using the period to launch its first national survey of young men and mental health.

According to Professor Ian Hickie, the Executive Director, Brain & Mind Research Institute, just one in six young men with mental health problems seek professional help.

"To make a real difference we need to find new ways of connecting with young men. While the internet holds great promise, most programs available still don't attract young men's attention. We need to involve young men in helping us develop better programs."

The BMRI and Inspire Foundation are aiming to recruit at least 2000 young people young people aged 16-24 to complete the online national survey. The survey is live now until the end of January 2010.

The survey takes 10-15 minutes and the results will be used to help develop an online service that resonates with young men, and which young men will turn to before reaching crisis point.

Anyone completing the survey is encouraged to promote it to friends via email, word of mouth, social networking sites, forums or blogs to ensure as many young Australians as possible participate.


The Inspire Foundation and the youth mental health hub at BMRI, which brings together GPs, mental health services, youth services and specialists, have received assistance for the project from an Australian Research Council grant. Further information about the BMRI is available here.

Contact: Kath Kenny

Phone: 02 9351 2261 or 0434 606 100