In May this year, the State Government declared two-thirds of Queensland in drought. For members of the community living and working in rural Queensland, this news will come as no shock. And for our fellow Queenslanders in the north and west, both drought and flood have added to the many challenges that come with making a living from the land.
While newspaper articles and television programs focus on the damage in terms of financial loss, the effect of these natural disasters on the mental health of people in rural communities can’t go unnoticed.
It’s disheartening to know that suicide and self-harm rates are higher in remote and rural Australia than in major cities. Residents of very remote areas twice as likely to die from suicide as city residents, and the people who face the greatest risk of suicide are farmers, young men, older people, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
It’s an alarming situation and one that, with your help, we’re determined to improve.
Since 2004, we have been delivering mental health services to people living and working in rural and remote communities. In that time, our mental health teams have worked hard to deliver much-needed services including face-toface counselling, mental health first aid, training and telehealth services.
Our highly-trained mental health professionals specifically tailor services to the needs of remote communities. Last year alone, our mental health services reached more than 8,000 people right across Queensland.
It takes courage to ask for help, and thanks to the compassion and unfailing support of people like you, I’m proud to say that we are bringing world-class mental health care to those need it most.