MALE suicide rates in remote areas of Queensland are nearly twice the rate in metropolitan areas, new research has shown.
The word suicide is often spoken with hesitation, but it is a big issue in regional areas such as Gladstone.
Divorce in couples living in regional and remote areas is one of the leading causes of suicide, with the loss of family connections, loss of income associated with a divorce and legal proceedings factors more likely to lead to suicide.
With 51 years of experience in suicide prevention, Pastor Patrick Marshall will host a suicide prevention seminar at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Gladstone on Sunday.
As a retired ordained minister of the church and original member of the Special Air Service Regiment, Mr Marshall has extensive experience working as a counsellor, youth worker, primary school chaplain, prison chaplain and high school lecturer in drug education and leadership.
In the past Mr Marshall has run numerous suicide prevention seminars across the country, but chose Gladstone to hold his last and final one.
"Gladstone is my home town," he said. "I want to take this here as there is so much suicide taking place in rural towns."
Beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell said the rates of suicide in rural areas were much higher in comparison to urban locations.
"Generally the rates of male suicide are also much higher than women," Ms Carnell said. "Definitely in rural areas."
The reason for this, Ms Carnell said, was mainly due to a lack of services, stresses that could accumulate in one's life and the issue of stigma.
"I think there's a cultural issue, particularly in men, to be very self-sufficient," she said.
"We often hear from people in rural areas that, 'We're not going to see someone for mental health issues as everyone will know'. That's a stigma problem."
Ms Carnell said beyondblue tried to highlight these sorts of areas and encourage, particularly men, to identify with these issues.
"Our job is to get men to understand that it's not something to be ashamed of.
"You can recover, but you have to seek help and we do that in a range of ways."
Beyondblue offers many services, such as an anonymous online men's shed where men can discuss a variety of blokey things.
Surprisingly, Ms Carnell said the thing they talked about the most was how they felt.
"We think it's because it's anonymous," she said.
Ms Carnell is adamant that people who have lost loved ones to suicide are also at risk themselves.
"The rates of suicide amongst people who have lost someone close to them are quite high," she said.
"It's important to seek help and understand it's not your fault. It's really important not to hide it."
Monitoring symptoms of suicide is also essential.
Ms Carnell said the first thing to look for was a change in the way you felt about things.
"If you're not getting the same sort of pleasure out of the things you used to, or if you're no longer going out, just staying home or feeling sad, worthless or like you have no future."
But most importantly, Ms Carnell said: "See these as symptoms of a real illness. You need help just the same way."
The Suicide Prevention Seminar will begin at 10am on Sunday at the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Gladstone.
There are only 50 participant workbooks available so book in now to secure your spot. Contact Janet Guy on 4978 6838 or 0438 786 838.
Cost is $10 for participants but residents are welcome to come and listen for free.
Do you need help?
- Beyondblue - beyondblue.org.au or call 1300 22 4636.
- Lifeline - lifeline.org.au or call 13 11 14 (24-hours-a-day).
- Reach Out Australia - au.reachout.com/SuicideHelp.
- Suicide Prevention Australia - suicideprevention.com.au or call 1300 659 467.
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