Rural suicide has a ripple effect that spreads through rural communities – from victims to families, friends, workmates and neighbours.
The National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) is looking for people to help reduce the stigma and impact of rural suicide on farming communities by becoming a Community Champion as part of its Ripple Effect project with beyondblue. “This is not just about helping those who’ve attempted suicide, but the families, friends and others in our communities who have been affected by suicide,” NCFH spokesperson Alison Kennedy said.
“We’re not asking people to hit the road on some major campaign; we simply want to recruit people who can spare an hour or two to learn about what we are trying to achieve with this programme.
“We will show you the website and how it works to deliver personalised stories and information to people wanting to know more about suicide and how they can help reduce its effects in rural areas.
“It’s then simply a matter of talking to friends, family, colleagues and community members about the opportunity to tell their story via the Ripple Effect website and access the support available to help put an end to the feelings of guilt, stress, isolation and shame that can both lead to suicide and be felt by those left behind.” Those stories have included the following: “I’d be the first to offer help, but I can’t ask for it myself” – South Australian farmer’ “How could I not have seen the signs before my son’s suicide. We worked together every day” – South-west Victorian Farming father; “I can’t ask for help I’m scared my clients won’t trust me” – Agronomist, whose brother took his own life. “To become a Community Champion involves jumping online to attend a 1-2hr webinar with other champs, where you can hear people’s stories on the impact of suicide, ask questions about the Ripple Effect and learn how to help and direct people to support.”
“Spreading the message on what you’ve learned from the Webinar can be as simple as sending emails to your contact list or you could speak directly with friends and colleagues, even address community and industry groups.”
“Whatever you do it will help, and you will have the support of The Ripple Effect website as a focus for the message you are helping spread.”
NCFH is offering a $100 voucher to help cover the cost of each Community Champion attending the webinar, spreading the Ripple Effect message and contributing to a follow-up evaluation of their experience.
You will also be provided with an information pack to assist you in sharing the news about the Ripple Effect.
The Community Champions webinars will run from early June, but the NCHF is calling on people to register their interest with Alison Kennedy on (03) 5551 8587 or email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.