A new mental health website has been launched by the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) specifically targeting rural men who are unsure about how and when to take action to protect their mental health.
Studies have shown that men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women and men in rural areas are much less likely to use psychological services for their mental health problems.
To help combat this issue RAMHP consulted with rural men around the country to develop a new website which provides tips on how and why men should take action to protect their mental health and connects them with the right people.
Mareeba Shire Councillor Locky Bensted is excited about a website like this that can connect rural farmers and residents and give them an avenue to talk.
“This sort of a website is a great start as it gets people talking and used to the idea of talking,” he said.
“It’s a great way of starting that conversation around men’s mental health that no one really wants to talk about.
“The visit we had from Shane Webcke last year cracked that shell and let people know that it’s ok to talk.”
Locky understand the struggles of rural men and highlighted that more often than not, they are working long hours, alone.
“As primary producers we are often working on our own,” he said.
“So there isn’t that social aspect that people can get from working in an office, so farmers can feel detached.
“I would love to see another high profile figure like Shane Webcke come to the shire and speak about their struggles.”
The website is called ‘You Got This Mate’ and it provides focused tips, information and even videos of other rural men sharing their stories about their own journey and struggles with mental health.
One such stories is of retired Dairy Farmer Warren Davies who is now a facilitator of ‘The Unbreakable Farmer’ a company that provides coaching and farm management solutions for farmers.
Warren has stated that if a website such as ‘You Got This Mate’ were made available to him while he was struggling with his mental health, his journey would’ve been much easier.
“For me finding the right type of support for my mental health took time and a lot of energy, if I had access to a website such as this it would have made my journey a lot easier,” he said.
“People living in rural and regional towns don’t have the same access to services that are available in the cities, that’s why a website like this is so important.
“By sharing my story I hope that I encourage others to get help when they need to.”
RAMHP Coordinator Steve Carrigg said feedback from their men’s advisory group stated that a website that is really visual, simple and easy-to-use with lots of suggestions on how to take action and resources that are relevant for rural people would be the best option.
“We know that seeking help early gives you a better chance of a quick recovery and reduces your risk of mental health problems in the future,” he said.
“For carers, parents, colleagues and partners it was also important to have a resource which provides guidance on how to have a conversation if someone is showing signs of a mental health problem, what the key signs to identify and where to go for help.
“We encourage people to check out this website and share it with a mate.”
To access the new website head to https://www.yougotthismate.com.au/