Spur Projects is an evolving idea: We believe that to tackle the rate of suicide among men in Australia, bold new approaches to suicide prevention are required.
Suicide remains the leading cause of death for men aged 14 to 44, and 80% of all suicides in Australia are men.
We also know that the risk of suicide diminishes with help and support. For many men, however, seeking help and support is the last thing on their mind. That needs to change, and we exist to change that.
Launched in July 2011, Soften the Fck Up is a campaign to challenge the question of what it means to be a man and to encourage the tough conversations around mental health and help-seeking.
As of July 2012, we have reached over 30,000 people via our website, videos and other social media channels.
In 2011, Soften the Fck Up won Suicide Prevention Australia’s LIFE Award and was one of three finalists for Queensland’s Mental Health Achievement Award.
Having grown up in a developing country, Ehon’s motivations are simple and compelling. He has seen first-hand the inequalities life and society can bring. He has experienced loss and grief at a personal and community level. It is these life experiences that drive him to make the world a better place to live in.
Lee Crockford is a composer, facilitator and design thinker who is passionate about instigating change through the arts and education. With a background in project development, he has worked around the world, exploring new ways of delivering content in order to foster ownership and generate change.
Having seen the impact of depression & suicide impact his family & friends Damon decided to get on board to try do something about it. Damon manages the team’s social media and general outreach of our campaign. During the day, he’s a digital media strategist for a global health company. He is also involved in several other projects, including maintaining a blog on human resources.
With a passion for good ideas, Gina has an extensive experience in the digital space – having worked in several international agencies both in New Zealand and Australia. Gina currently works as a publicist during the day and our digital creative strategist in her free time.
Challenging the status quo isn’t easy and as proud as we are of what we’ve accomplished so far, the road has been far from smooth. For every question that still needs an answer, there has been an equal number of valuable lessons we have learned on the journey that now guide the work we do.
Our 8 values and beliefs:
One day, there will be zero avoidable suicides in Australia – this is our vision and we know it is possible.
By 2015, Spur will be a significant leader in the delivery of highly effective campaigns that engage men in the tough conversations surrounding mental health. These campaigns will be evidence-based, reflect the range of mental health needs of men, demonstrate courage and boldness, and target specific, identified audiences.
By 2015, at least 500,000 men will be aware of how to take preventative mental health action as a result of Spur campaigns. Of those, 100,000 will have become engaged with our campaigns and content.
If you’d like to get involved, the four best things you could do are:
Suicide is the number one cause of death amongst young people aged 14-25, ahead of road and traffic accidents (ABS 2010). Four out of five of these suicides are young men. Suicide is preventable; however, there is a lack of programs and services designed to target young men. Men are also less likely to:
Kerry Graham is the Lead Mentor, Indigenous Partnerships, Group Sustainability and Community for The Westpac Group, and the Juvenile Justice
Inquiry for the ACT Human Rights Commission. Kerry has committed herself to addressing the disadvantage and exclusion experienced by parts of our community, having worked with Indigenous Australians, children and young people, as well as homeless, mentally unwell and dually diagnosed people. Kerry was a solicitor with Aboriginal Legal Services, founding lawyer of the NSW Youth Drug and Alcohol Court for which she received the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre award, National Operations Manager for Good Beginnings Australia and recently the CEO of Inspire Foundation.
Aleem Ali is a serial social entrepreneur and a leading social innovation advisor, advocate and facilitator in Australia. He is currently the director of his own consulting company aleem ali + co. and the Chief Operating Officer for Hope Empowered. Before joining Hope Empowered, Aleem Ali was involved in establishing several creative and social enterprises including SpeakOut, Bleeding Heart, Biddy Bags and Human Ventures. Aleem served as the Board of Director for Foundations for Young Australians, and as the Chair of the Regional Arts Fund Panel.
Dawn was the CEO of Beyondblue from January to October 2011. Dawn was previously CEO of one of Australia’s largest charities – Lifeline Australia – and in 2009 was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the community and to Mental Health.
Dawn has a background in business management and marketing and is a member of the Australian Suicide Prevention Advisory Council (ASPAC) and the National Advisory Council for Mental Health (NACMH).
With the goal of improving knowledge of depression and anxiety, Dawn endeavours to build upon beyondblue’s extensive achievements in depression awareness, prevention and early intervention within the health, education and employment sectors and in all Australian communities.
Steve is a refugee from the corporate world. In his past life he held executive roles for AMP, Watson Wyatt, Thomas Cook, Solectron Corp. (US) and Woolworths where he finished with responsibility for people, change leadership and organisational development for the Logistics Division. In the Not-for-Profit sector Steve has been involved with a number of organisations helping with strategy, general management challenges and as a non-Executive Director — principally with CanTeen — the Australian Organisation for Young People Living with Cancer. He also acted as Chief Executive Officer of CanTeen during a period of crisis management and organisational transition.
In March 2005 Steve started Move 4 Life which is now Australia’s leading provider of training and consulting in the prevention of strain and sprain injury at work and home.