THE RIPPLE EFFECT: If you are a farmer, or work anywhere in agriculture, you know, or know of, someone who has taken their life.
THE RIPPLE EFFECT: If you are a farmer, or work anywhere in agriculture, you know, or know of, someone who has taken their life. Jamie Brown

Gympie region rural news: taking on the last taboo

IF YOU are a farmer, or work anywhere in agriculture, you know, or know of, someone who has taken their life. 

Suicide is so incredibly tragic and in most cases preventable. 

If people realise there are solutions, and understand life can go on, then we can help make change – urgently-needed change.  

Too many families and friends of people who have killed themselves have had to survive the fallout. 

The ripple effect of such a loss tears apart the fabric of families and communities. 

Rural and regional Australia needs to turn the negative ripple of suicide and stigma into a tsunami of action and support. 

Which is why the National Centre for Farmer Health is about to launch a website to learn what is happening, and how regional communities are thinking about suicide.  

To be launched within weeks, the Ripple Effect website will enable farmers to anonymously register and view other farmers’ stories of suicide, share their own insights and find out what they can do to support the wellbeing of others and themselves.  

The Ripple Effect’s Alison Kennedy said “we are looking to help build the first, accurate, national insight into what is in the minds of our farmers, what are their stories and opinions – and get that to the people who can help make a difference.” 

She said if agricultural Australia is going to turn back the tide of suicide in farming communities it needs support – and it will not get that right unless it has the right information, accurate information. 

The Ripple Effect has been developed by NCFH, Deakin University, Victorian Farmers Federation, AgChatOZ, Mental Illness Fellowship North Queensland, Sandpit and Western District Health Service as part of beyondblue’s STRIDE Project (with donations from the Movember Foundation). 

“The cumulative stress of modern-day farming, juggling debt and volatile commodity markets, climate change, family pressures, illness and injury, and dealing with it all in the isolation of the average working day puts farmers at a higher risk of suicide,” Ms Kennedy said. 

“Everyone knows about it, for years everyone has danced around it, always too concerned to talk openly about it – you can die of anything except your own hand because at that point no-one really knows what to do next,” she said. 

“And that’s the problem – no-one really knows enough about anything. 

“We are really hoping we can tap into the experiences of our farmers, everywhere across the country, and hear about the things they rarely, if ever, tell anyone else. 

“But in a few weeks they will be able to tell us, anonymously, on the Ripple Effect. And every bit of anonymous information will be processed and analysed so we can get it to everyone who can help. 

“So please help us help you, your family and your community by registering as part of the Ripple Effect as soon as it is launched on June 30,” she said. 

To register your interest in the Ripple Effect, visit www.therippleeffect.com.au. 

For further details about the Ripple Effect contact Alison Kennedy at NCFH on (03) 5551 8587 or email alison.kennedy@wdhs.net

Gympie Times


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