One in 10 young Australian males contemplated suicide last year, a mental wellbeing study has found.
Researcher Jane Burns said the saddening revelation, to be included in a report to be released on Monday, reflected a mental health system that was failing young males. The survey found that nearly 70 of the 700 interviewed thought about taking their own lives and one in five felt "life is hardly worth living".
Some will no doubt say that the problem is masculinity itself, that men have to learn to express emotions and seek help and so on.
You have to wonder, though, whether the current drift of society isn't making it harder for young men to find the kind of anchors in life that they once did.
I can remember as a boy in the 1970s growing up with a very positive view of manhood. Australian men took pride in a history of masculine achievement. We were to live up to the achievements of previous generations of men, to take on the mantle of a proud tradition.
But increasingly the message has shifted to the idea that men in general, and white men in particular, have had a negative role and that any traditions they are associated with are morally tainted. I can't see how this message is likely to help young men build a strong sense of self-esteem or a positive regard for their role and place in society.
And modern life can seem empty. We exist to work and to shop and to be consumers of various kinds of entertainments. We are fundamentally to see ourselves as atomised individuals and to try to make sense of life on this basis.
This doesn't call on the deeper male instincts. We weren't made for this; there is no role in this for our strengths as men. Were we given our muscularity, or our instinct to serve and to protect, or our sense of honour and loyalty, just to end up wandering around a shopping mall buying things?
We are supposed to work together for larger ends, the most important of which is to uphold the existence of the peoples we belong to. And our role within the family is supposed to be a distinctly masculine one, a role that the wellbeing of the family depends on.
Not hedonism, not individual self-interest, not abstract universalism - none of these will ultimately work as anchors. None of these ties the best of what we are as men to a meaningful role in society.