The suicide rate in rural Australia is staggeringly high, among the highest rates in the Western world.
These suicide rates are highest in men.
I love the Australian Outback. It’s beautiful and unforgiving.
The majority of Australia’s land mass is rural. It’s such a cliché to joke that in Europe when you travel twenty minutes down the road you’re in another country, but in Australia you’re at your neighbours driveway. The reality of the isolation that can produce for a man and his family takes some of the humor out of it. Even an introvert such as myself can understand this.
Men have been taming the harsh Australian landscape since the time of the convicts. Some Australian farmers today are fostering a livestock trade that has been in their family for 3 or more generations who have to deal with the crushing burden that Mother Nature places on them.
Here from the Meat and Livestock Association (MLA):
“The national sheep flock, now at around 75.5 million head, is down on the historical highs of 1960… This reflects a more competitive international fibre market, land use changes in the agricultural sector and, more recently, the ravages of drought.”
For some men the risk of losing everything their forefathers worked till their last breath to build can be too much. For some men the belief that life insurance renders them more valuable to their loved ones dead than alive leads them to taking their own life.
As a man with a family this hits right at home. It’s one thing to say that suicide is the cowards way out.
These men carry the responsibility of maintaining an inheritance. They’re isolated and stressed. After three, even four years of drought these families plunge further into debt; low on feed and grass they’re often force to cull their livestock and live on mutton.
A quote from a rural health Australia fact sheet is telling:
“There appears to be a causal relationship between drought related trauma and elevated proportions of at-risk individuals in agricultural communities, such as farmers and local business people.”
A lot of these men believe they are making the ultimate sacrifice to allow their family to survive. On million square acre properties, these men often feel isolated and powerless to change their situation.
This makes charitable organizations such as Care Outreach LTD so important and valuable.
Care Outreach LTD provides support to Rural Australians in those areas that need it the most. They receive no Government subsidy. It’s all funded by donations.
Food, gifts for children, community events are just a few of the voluntary services offered by Care Outreach Australia. But more than all of that, Care Outreach offers hope.
Care Outreach Limited is a Christian run organization that brings the love of Christ to the outback. They are as much a missions ministry as they are a charity and they need your help.
“… The practical help speaks volumes where sometimes the opportunities for words are not available” – Quote taken from the Care Outreach pamphlet
Their mission statement says it all:
To care for the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of people in Rural and Remote Australia.
For many of these Aussies, the knowledge that they are not alone and stuck in a hopeless situation without any help can be all they need to keep going.
On a recent weekend trip to a men’s event a Care Outreach volunteer offering information said this,
“One thing we can never get enough of, is volunteers“
They exist to remind these isolated farming families that they are not forgotten, or unappreciated. Care Outreach LTD accepts donations in the form of money, food, gifts and second-hand items and they could always use more volunteers.
So if you’re interested in helping in any way that you can then head over to their website now for more information.
You’ll find them at https://careoutreach.wordpress.com/
Editor’s note: I have no affiliation with Care Outreach LTD and obtain no incentive, financial or otherwise to endorse their work or information.