The Turnbull Government’s budget announcement of an additional $33.8 million in funding over the next four years will boost the Lifeline crisis support service. The extra funding will enable the critical service to support more people more quickly, according to Lifeline Chairman John Brogden.
This is a significant announcement for Rural and Regional Communities, who according to a National Rural Health Alliance, have a 66% higher rate of suicide than metropolitan communities.
‘Mental Health and access to mental health services are increasingly important issues for rural and regional communities, particularly among our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Farming and Young Male community cohorts’ said Ms Kathy Woolley, CEO of the Western Research Institute.
‘Among farmers particularly, studies by the National Rural Health Alliance report the rate of suicide to be 34 in every 100,000, compared with 24 in every 100,000 in young rural men generally, which in itself is significantly higher than national averages’.
2016 Census data reveals a 18% increase in the number of deaths by suicide since 2012 outside of the Greater Sydney Statistical area, compared with a 5% increase within the Greater Sydney area.
Higher rates of suicide can be linked with poorer mental health among rural and regional Australians, which is attributed to a number of factors including poorer health generally and increased barriers to health care.
‘The announcement by the Turnbull Government is a positive indication that they are taking the issue of mental health seriously. The boost for Lifeline will hopefully translate to more rural and regional Australians accessing crisis support when they most need it’.
Anyone seeking support or guidance can contact Lifeline on 13 11 44 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.