MENTOR: Glen Poole is a men's health and wellbeing champion from the UK who now lives at Agnes Water.
MENTOR: Glen Poole is a men's health and wellbeing champion from the UK who now lives at Agnes Water. Contributed

UK speaker to host suicide prevention talk in Gladstone

HEALTH and wellbeing speaker Glen Poole is on a mission to save men's lives.

Mr Poole specialises in suicide prevention talks, and will bring that knowledge to Gladstone Library tonight.

Formally from the UK, Mr Poole moved to Sydney with his partner in 2015 where he lived for six months before travelling around Australia and eventually settling at Agnes Water earlier this year.

He had worked with young men for almost 20 years and has done work for suicide prevention charities in the UK, but it wasn't until he moved to Sydney that his focus fully switched to suicide prevention.

"One evening around the Christmas/New Year period we were woken up by choppers flying overhead," Mr Poole said.

"We lived near the northern beaches of Sydney and we found out a fellow in his 30s had driven right past our apartment and off the cliff and into the sea.

"That was it for me. It was an issue that was happening right on our doorstep."

Mr Poole's particular focus is on stopping male suicide, especially in young men.

"In Australia, eight people a day kill themselves and six of them are men," he said.

"There's a lot of good work done in Australia to prevent suicide but very little of it focuses on male suicide.

"I'm about working to make individuals and communities much more aware of how to spot a man who is at risk of suicide and how to take action."

Mr Poole holds talks, conferences and suicide prevention training around the country, but says it's pointless without taking real action.

"The big story out there about male suicide is that men don't talk about their mental health and if more men would talk about their mental health, and get help, there would be less suicide," he said.

"But we've been having that conversation for years and it isn't really changing the suicide rate.

"In my experience, what makes a difference is not lecturing men at their moment of distress, but actually getting people around those men to think differently about how they listen and give help to men in their communities."

Glen Poole's Stop Male Suicide talk is a free event at the Gladstone Library from 6.30pm tonight.

If you or anyone you know needs help, phone Lifeline on 131114 or MensLine Australia on 1300789978.