The recent viral article by Mary O’Brien ‘Are you bogged, mate?’ shone a spotlight on the impact that poor mental health is having on our men in rural and regional Queensland where in some cases it can lead to suicide. The article describes a depression that “without you or those close to you noticing, it gradually pulls you into a hole, a bog hole”. Understandably, this struck a chord with farmers.
Just like getting bogged, with depression there will be times when you need to ask for help to pull you out.
Australian males between 15 and 45 years of age are in the highest risk category for suicide. Across the country, men are approximately 3 times more likely to take their own life than women, and male farmers are dying by suicide at rates significantly higher than non-farming rural males – the further you move from the coast into regional, rural, and remote Australia, the more that figure climbs.
There are many external factors that can lead to depression in rural men such as droughts, floods, rising input costs, family pressures, falling commodity prices and pressure from banks, all of which can be compounded by the expectation of living up to the family farm legacy.
As O’Brien states eloquently in her article, there is no doubt that the suite of skills needed to live and work in agriculture has never been greater. This along with the considerable physical and psychological divide between the city and country continues to grow a sense of misplaced tribalism and animosity.
The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) and our industry members are ready to play our part and to take the lead in supporting and spreading the word about the importance of good mental health. QFF is calling on governments to work alongside mental health support organisations, key industry associations and community groups to help overturn these trends affecting our men in rural and regional communities.
We have all been bogged at some point. Depression and anxiety are common conditions, not weaknesses, and with the right treatment, most people recover. So ask the question, ‘Are you bogged, mate?’
Are you bogged, mate? https://maryobrienrural.com.au/articles/are-you-bogged-mate/
Readers seeking support can contact:
- Headspace 1800 650 890
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
- MensLine Australia 1300 789 978