Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner today joined the Queensland Farmers’ Federation and leading rural mental health advocate Mary O’Brien at the launch of ‘Are you bogged mate?’ bridging program.
The launch took place at Vanderfield Machinery, in Toowoomba, before a large crowd of industry participants who are throwing their weight behind the cause.
‘Are you bogged mate?’ is an awareness campaign to raise awareness of suicide rates in rural communities and to identify avenues of support for rural men who are facing these issues.
Minister Furner said conversations about rural mental health and suicide needed to be had at an individual and a community level.
“We know that suicide isn’t only a problem for our health system – it’s a problem for our society, and we all have a stake in it,” he said.
“This initiative is about starting the conversation and promoting early intervention for rural men who are at risk of suicide or harm.
“We know that identifying the signs and available treatments early can make a difference, but we need to make sure we communicate effectively.
“That’s why I am glad that our government can partner with people and organisations on the ground, like Queensland Farmers’ Federation, to tackle this endemic issue.”
Rural suicide rates are one of the greatest tragedies of our time, and we all need to play a part in addressing the issue
Rural health advocate Mary O’Brien said that conversations needed to begin.
“We know that rural men often face unique challenges and stress that can lead to conditions developing, and that they also face challenges in accessing support,” she said.
“Today, we say to these men and those who love them: are you bogged, mate?
“If just one person can have that conversation and make a difference, then these efforts are worth it.”
Queensland Farmers’ Federation president Stuart Armitage said the ‘Are you bogged mate?’ campaign could make a real difference in rural communities.
“Rural suicide rates are one of the greatest tragedies of our time, and we all need to play a part in addressing the issue,” he said.
“As farmers, we want to meaningfully contribute to a more positive and supportive framework for men who may be experiencing these challenges.
“’Are you bogged mate?’ is an important way for us to facilitate this conversation with our members and the communities we live in, and Mary O’Brien certainly has a way of connecting with rural blokes.”
The Queensland Government is investing $9.6 million over four years (2016-17 to 2019-20) in a Suicide Prevention in Health Services Initiative.