Saturday, 8 October 2016

'Self-reliant' men more likely to have suicidal thoughts, researchers find

I came across this excellent article while catching-up on the news this morning:

'Self-reliant' men more likely to have suicidal thoughts, researchers find

It reads ....

"Self-reliance was once intrinsic to the self-image of the Australian male, who valued his independence and ability to overcome obstacles alone.

But a new study has linked it to the disproportionate number of men taking their own lives.

A University of Melbourne examination of 13,884 men in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Male Health (Ten to Men) explored whether particular factors related to being male might increase the likelihood of suicide. It found those who considered themselves "self-reliant" were 34 per cent more likely to have experienced suicidal thoughts."

The article begins with the personal story of wheat and sheep farmer, John Harper, who provides an analogy all farmers can relate to:

""Isolation is basic animal instinct," Mr Harper said. "If we see a beast on its own at the farm, we know it's crook. So we bring it in, we get the best person we can to make it right and we put it back with the flock.

"But we don't do that with mental health. We've got people who go home, pull the blinds down, and what do we do? We leave the poor bastards there. If we do that with a beast, a few days later its legs are up."

Mr Harper said the first step to recovering from depression or anxiety was to let someone know – your partner, a mate, your GP – you needed help."

Read the full article here.

Beginning this Tuesday night, October 11th at 8:30pm on ABC TV is Gus Worland's Man Up TV Series:

"Harden up. Suck it up. Man up. We’ve been telling our men this for years, but is it healthy? Suicide is now the leading cause of death for Australian men aged 15-44. And alarming new research suggests that some men choose to take their own life, rather than appear weak by asking for help. Man Up is a three-part documentary series and social awareness campaign, hosted by Triple M radio personality Gus Worland, which aims to get to the bottom of the male suicide crisis, effect real social change and hopefully even save lives. The first episode airs on October 11th at 8:30pm on ABC TV and iview."

Gus Worland

I urge every bloke in Australia to watch this important series... it might just save your life. (And women ... if your bloke won't put the TV on to this channel, take the remote control and do it for him.)

If you need help please contact:

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

How is the World Feeling?

Take part in the world's largest, real-time, mental health survey.

7 days, 7 continents, 7 million participants and 70 million emotions logged via a free app for smart devices.

Download the app here.

Between the 10-16th of October 2016, everyone in the world is invited to tell Spur Projects how they’re feeling via a free app for iOS & Android devices.

Once you've downloaded the app, you'll receive notifications during the week to check in and say how you're feeling. Not only will you help contribute to the largest (open-source) database of emotions in the world but you'll also get to see how the rest of the world is feeling, in real-time!

Join the Facebook Event Page here.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Suicide prevention is going to require a ballsy about-face

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released its Causes of Death report on Wednesday and, alarmingly, the suicide toll in Australia is at a 10 year high despite more awareness campaigns and community resilience programs than ever before.

3027 suicides. More than 8 per day. 1 every 3 hours.

"While this post quotes numbers, the reality is those numbers are people. They are someone's son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister, best friend or work colleague, next door neighbour, people know them and care for them. Each one leaves a hole in lives that can never be filled." (Kerry Beake)

A lot has been written this past week about these tragic statistics. I wanted to draw your attention to four articles that really stood out; they stand out because they confront an ugly truth and call on us to tackle suicide prevention differently.

BIRRR Sky Muster Survey 2016

Please complete this survey ONLY if you are connected or waiting for an nbn Sky Muster Installation. The responses will assist the BIRRR Team in lobbying for better bush telecommunications and ensuring the voice of Rural, Regional & Remote Australia is heard loud and clear. 

Click here to complete the survey


The Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia (BIRRR) Facebook group was created on 22nd October 2014.  Kylie Stretton (Charters Towers, QLD) & Kristy Sparrow (Alpha, QLD) set up the group when they both noticed unexplained excessive usage on their mobile broadband data.

As Kristy struggled to deal with educating her children (via distance education) and both women dealt with very limited internet to run their businesses, they began to respond to media enquiries – and as others throughout rural Australia heard of the group and joined, it began to grow quickly.

With support and online action gathering momentum, BIRRR took to Twitter with the hashtag #fixbushinternet and #DataDrought. Kristen Stahlhut-Coggan (Condamine, QLD)  & Amanda Salisbury (Monto, QLD) then joined the admin team to help out.  All admins live the #datadrought on a daily basis, all are volunteers (with two children each) and lead busy lives, including full time jobs and local community involvement.

BIRRR FUNDING to #fixbushinternet

As BIRRR grows & they lobby for change, the volunteer admins are experiencing increasing out-of-pocket expenses.

To assist with maintaining the BIRRR resource website, memberships, printing expenses, survey costs and travel expenses for lobbying and networking with decision makers, BIRRR admins have decided to crowd fund. They are asking for very SMALL donations / gifts to assist them with their lobbying, advocacy and support work. 

Click here to make a donation 

BIRRR Admin Team

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Why can’t Australians claim Medicare rebates for online video counselling?

Our government claims that innovation will save our nation. In 2016 it’s difficult to believe that online mental health care services do not currently qualify for Medicare rebates.

Suicide is now the leading cause of death for young and middle-aged Australians, and the number of people in both rural and urban Australia struggling with mental health issues is on the rise. Unbelievably, the Medicare rebate is still only available for face-to-face sessions.

Unfortunately, many rural and remote Australians don’t contemplate mental health care because there are no mental health professionals in their communities to access. Those who do seek support may be forced to drive for hours and take time off work to visit their nearest psychologist, clinical social worker or counsellor. Medicare rebates for online mental health care services would allow regional and rural Australians to receive support in the privacy and comfort of their own home, without sacrificing time and money to do so.

The Australian Government should be making it easier for all Australians to access support when they need it, not harder. The technology is available. The need is obvious. The time is now.