Report reveals factors driving suicide in bush

DIVORCE, alcohol use and the number of jobs in agriculture are three main factors driving the suicide rate in regional and remote Australia, a new report from the National Suicide Prevention Strategy revealed yesterday.

And regional Australians who were young, male or indigenous were much more likely to commit suicide, the 105-page report showed.

The report was completed by a team of researchers at Griffith University, who found male suicide rates in remote areas of Queensland averaged 36.32 per 100,000 men - nearly twice the rate in metropolitan areas, at 18.25 per 100,000 men.

"What is clear from the findings of the present report is the importance of recognising the unique experience associated with suicide in rural Australia," the report reads.

"Certainly, not all suicide risk and protective factors are unique to one region, locality or context; however, there were factors which appeared to impact more significantly in rural areas.

"Although not examined in this report, there is a need for further research into the past and continuing impacts of natural disasters, such as droughts and floods."

The report also found farmers were particularly likely to commit suicide, with a job associated with the natural elements, easier access to guns and the "stoicism" of men on the land factors.

But divorce in couples living in regional and remote areas was one of the leading causes of suicide, with the loss of family connections, loss of income associated with a divorce and legal proceedings factors more likely to lead to suicide.

Income was also a factor, with remote and regional men earning less than their metropolitan counterparts.

The report recommends more support for people in difficult circumstances in rural areas and improving education and lifestyle.

Need help? There is no need to struggle through depression alone.

Make the call to Lifeline on 13 11 14, beyondblue on 1300 22 4636, Kid's Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Parentline on 1300 30 1300.



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