Seven men per day commit suicide in Australia. That’s seven groups of families and friends to mourn the loss of a loved one every day.
The federal government’s strategy around rural mental health seems to revolve around telehealth and online counselling, rather than relying on rural men to travel into towns to access face-to-face counselling, which may involve some stigma.
Not enough is being done to turn around the epidemic of suicide among rural Australians, particularly men, the founder of a mental health charity has said.
Are You Bogged Mate? founder Mary O’Brien recently completed a three-week journey through the outback and regional Queensland where she spoke to locals in dozens of towns and at rural industry events about suicide prevention.
“I’m hoping what I’m doing is changing that stigma and conversation so men feel a lot more comfortable to get that stuff out and talk about this stuff,” she said.
While suicide rates have poor historical accuracy, Are You Bogged Mate? estimates the true figures dwarf those officially recorded when taking into account deaths ruled as accidents.
“We still have single-vehicle accidents that are put into the road toll, instead of suicide,” Ms O’Brien said.
“The numbers are going up, particularly for men, so we’re now on an average of seven men a day. That’s one every three and a half hours.”