Orygen research fellow Dr Zac Seidler has today been announced the winner of the 2021 Bupa Foundation Emerging Health Researcher Award.
The award, which includes a $25,000 grant, will allow Dr Seidler to further his research into understanding men’s experiences of mental health care, improving the services they receive and reducing the high and rising rate of male suicide.
Dr Seidler’s work includes the development of ‘Men in Mind’, a world-first online training program designed to improve mental health practitioners’ capacity to engage and connect with their male clients.
Following the pilot of the training program, participants reported a significant increase in their competence and confidence in working with men.
Dr Seidler has also tailored both a ‘gatekeeper’ training course and a suicide safety planning app to engage men and help them identify and respond to suicidal thoughts in their male friends and family.
“Men’s mental health is finally on our radar as a research community thanks to years of grassroots advocacy by organisations like Movember. We are now starting to grapple with the fact that, on average, 7 men a day die by suicide in Australia, and it is the leading cause of death for young men. We have a long way to go to understand, reach and respond to men in distress, but the work is well and truly underway, as we seek out men’s diverse voices and opinions to drive much-needed change.” Dr Seidler said.
Bupa Asia Pacific’s Chief Executive Officer Hisham El-Ansary congratulated Dr Seidler on the award.
“The Bupa Foundation’s Emerging Health Researcher Award recognises the incredible health and medical research talent we have here in Australia. This year, Bupa are supporting emerging leaders focused on building mentally healthy, resilient communities.
“Dr Seidler’s research is making a significant contribution to improved prevention, early intervention and treatments to support men’s mental health.
“At the same time, he is advocating for and engaging the wider community in the need for better approaches to this major health issue that is impacting people and families across the world.”