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Suicide Prevention Australia: Position Paper On Suicide In Rural Australia

Despite rising rates of suicide, it is only relatively recently that interest has been directed towards the relationship between suicide and geographical location. As a consequence, several studies have demonstrated that notable differences exist between urban-rural suicide rates.

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Improved mental health literacy, accessibility of services and resources, and coordinated initiatives that encourage help-seeking remain central to minimising the risk of suicide...
 

An important part of addressing male suicide is to have a clear and consistent defintion and standard for what constitutes death by suicide.

This position paper from Suicide Prevention Australia provides a good standard for the basis and background of suicide in rural and remote Australia. It acknolwedges that there are significant differences in suicide rates and approaches between males in metropolitan Australia and rural Australia.  This is important in terms of implementing  approaches tailored to different regions and demographics.

The paper provides five guiding principles on rural suicides:

  • Research indicates that substantial differences in rates of suicide exist between Australia's rural and urban areas. However, little rigorous research has been conducted into the causes of rural suicide [Editorial note: readers may like to view the research paper into stories of male suicide on the NSW Central Coast].
  • The available data on rural and remote suicides in Australia reveals a multifarious problem. While this position statement does not intend to resolve all of these complexities, it does attempt to provide a firm basis of understanding from which further debate, discussion and strategic response may ensue.
  • Discussions of geographically-related suicide rates and the development of correlative suicide prevention strategies should distinguish between the concepts of 'rural' and 'remote' as two independently heterogeneous concepts. Likewise, it should be remembered that 'remoteness' does not always necessarily relate to geographic distance, but can also refer to feelings of isolation.
  • The role of improved mental health literacy, accessibility of services and resources, and coordinated initiatives that encourage help-seeking remain central to minimising the risk of suicide and self-harm in rural and remote areas.
  • Social stigma remains a major inhibiting factor in the reluctance exhibited towards help-seeking among rural and remote communities, and may potentially preclude successful suicide prevention and crisis intervention strategies.

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