Legislative Council: Tuesday, August 29, 2023


Men's Health

In reply to the Hon. S.L. GAME ().13 June 2023).

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector): The Minister for Health and Wellbeing has been advised:

SA Health focuses on improving the health and wellbeing of all South Australians.

In areas where the data identifies particular need, targeted strategies are implemented.

For example, in the area of bowel cancer screening, Wellbeing SA has a full-time dedicated position for Aboriginal men's health and wellbeing with a particular focus on increasing participation in bowel cancer screening. A dedicated multicultural officer also runs separate men's education sessions to individual community groups targeting new arrivals.

Based on data that indicated higher levels of skin cancer, men have been the target group for skin cancer prevention campaigns funded by Wellbeing SA. The most recent featured a father and son with a tag line 'if you cover things, they last longer'.

Drug and Alcohol Services SA implements a statewide campaign to encourage tobacco cessation to help drive down smoking prevalence. The campaign material and channels used are skewed to reach more males, particularly those aged 25-59 years old. Despite the higher rates of smoking among men compared to women, there has been a decline in smoking rates among men from 18 per cent in 2017 to 8.9 per cent in 2022[1].

SA Health delivers specialist inpatient and community based alcohol and other drug treatment services, engaging men in the community through a universal approach. It also partners with non-government organisations in the delivery of alcohol, tobacco and other drug services in both metropolitan and regional Adelaide. In 2021-22, 62 per cent of clients who received treatment for their own alcohol and/or drug use were male. This is monitored and has remained stable over time [2].

Wellbeing SA is responsible for community-based suicide prevention and promotion of mental health and wellbeing activities. Men are an identified priority population for suicide prevention initiatives, and Wellbeing SA has undertaken numerous activities and projects aimed at tackling male suicide including providing funding support for the Tailoring Suicide Prevention Strategies for Men in Farming Occupations, conducted by UniSA and published in 2022.

Targeted consultation with men was held during the development of the South Australian Suicide Prevention Plan to hear about their specific needs via survey, phone calls, in person interviews and consultation groups held with:

Aboriginal men in metropolitan and rural communities

Men in construction and other occupations with high rates of suicide such as dentists, lawyers, and health practitioners

Men in the armed services, veterans and first responders

Men in metropolitan and regional settings.

National Health and Medical Research Council funding is a matter for the federal government.

1. South Australian Public Health Survey

2. Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set, AIHW