New fo­cus on sui­cide pre­ven­tion in ru­ral ar­eas

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

THE an­nounce­ment of four new sui­cide pre­ven­tion sites in ru­ral and re­mote Aus­tralia has been wel­comed by Pres­i­dent of the MARK Foun­da­tion for anti bul­ly­ing, Kel­lie Millington.

“It’s some­thing that we haven’t had a lot of sup­port with over the years. Gov­ern­ment bod­ies have sort of swept it un­der the car­pet, but for them to recog­nise it is a huge step for­ward,” she said.

Mrs Millington, of Gayn­dah, said peo­ple of all ages and walks of life in ru­ral and re­mote ar­eas bat­tled with men­tal ill­ness and de­pres­sion daily.

“It’s not just men­tal ill­ness though, there are a lot of farm­ers who are de­pressed be­cause of the state of their prop­er­ties and los­ing stock and crops,” Mrs Millington said.

“They are sit­ting their and watch­ing ev­ery­thing they worked so hard for die and their in­come drop­ping which has to be very hard.

“It’s kids and adults who need that men­tal health sup­port.”

Mrs Millington helped start the MARK Foun­da­tion to fight against bul­ly­ing af­ter los­ing her son Mark.

Na­tional Ru­ral Health Al­liance CEO David Butt also wel­comed the news and said a re­newed fo­cus on

— Al­liance CEO David Butt

ru­ral Aus­tralia where sui­cide rates can be much higher than ur­ban cen­tres is great to see.

“It gives the op­por­tu­nity for lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to work to­gether on de­vel­op­ing lo­cal solutions which work in pre­vent­ing sui­cides and sui­cide at­tempts,” Mr Butt said. “We know that the rate of men­tal ill­ness in ru­ral and re­mote Aus­tralia is nearly iden­ti­cal to that in ma­jor cities, but the im­pact is much worse in coun­try ar­eas.

“The rate of sui­cide in re­mote and very re­mote Aus­tralia is al­most dou­ble the rate in ma­jor cities.”

Mr Butt also spoke about the far reach­ing emo­tional im­pact of sui­cide or at­tempted sui­cide es­pe­cially in close knit ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

“For every mem­ber of the com­mu­nity it can be a per­sonal loss,” Mr Butt said.

“In ru­ral and re­mote com­mu­ni­ties men­tal health ser­vices are often limited with far poorer ac­cess to spe­cialised ser­vices.

The Na­tional Ru­ral Health Al­liance is com­prised of 39 na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions fo­cused on the health and well be­ing of Aus­tralia’s 7 mil­lion ru­ral res­i­dents.

Al­liance tar­gets cost ef­fec­tive, ev­i­dence based solutions to ru­ral men­tal health.

The rate of sui­cide in re­mote and very re­mote Aus­tralia is al­most dou­ble the rate in ma­jor cities.

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