Mental Health in the Industry
Mental health conditions are prevalent in many regional and rural communities, including in the agriculture industry, yet many people are still hesitant to openly discuss them with family, friends, employers and their communities. The nature of the agriculture industry can result in factors that lead to increased risk of experiencing mental health issues, including isolation, environmental factors such as natural disasters and ongoing drought and the stresses associated with tough economic conditions. These stressors, combined with the stigma associated with these discussing mental health conditions, can have disastrous effects on an individual’s mental health. There are a number of resources available for those who feel they may need help, as well as a number of events that aim to promote positive mental health and awareness of issues within regional and rural communities.
Why is mental health awareness important?
Three million Australians are currently living with depression or anxiety, with only 35 per cent of these people accessing treatment (ABS, 2008). Some Australian farming communities have up to double the suicide rates of the general population (Kennedy, Versace & Brumby, 2016) and in Queensland, agricultural workers have been found to have the highest suicide rates compared to other occupational groups (Kunde et al, 2017).
Of all deaths by suicide within Australia, approximately 75 per cent of the victims are male (ABS, 2016), which can have a tremendous impact on communities that rely on agriculture given that the industry is one that is generally male-dominated.
A range of services are available to help you in times of need, whether you require immediate or ongoing support. If you feel as though you are struggling, or not feeling yourself, the best thing to do is tell someone you trust, and consider seeking professional/medical assistance.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Causes of Death, Australia, 2014. 2016.
- Kunde, L, Kõlves, K, Kelly, B, Reddy, P, & De Leo, D 2017, ‘Pathways to Suicide in Australian Farmers: A Life Chart Analysis’, International Journal Of Environmental Research And Public Health, 14, 4, MEDLINE Complete.
- Kennedy, A, Versace, VL, & Brumby, S 2016, ‘Research protocol for a digital intervention to reduce stigma among males with a personal experience of suicide in the Australian farming community’, BMC Public Health, 16, 1204