Tomorrow marks the 10th annual R U OK? Day, encouraging Australians to start a conversation to make a difference to those struggling with mental health issues, and participation in this has never been more crucial with a new study revealing shocking statistics on rural and regional youth mental health.
VicHealth, CSIRO and the National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) have today released research about mental health issues for young people in rural and regional Victoria.
The report showed that in 2016, rates of death from suicide and self-harm among Victorian youth rose from 11 to 13 in 100,000, and that alcohol, cannabis and methamphetamines use is far higher than city in counterparts.
The research claims a large part of this is lack of access to opportunities and services, including transport, internet, education and jobs, and mental health services.
It’s distressing to see that young people in our regions aren’t getting the support they need and this lack of opportunities and services is a cause of higher rates of suicide and self-harm.
- National Centre for Farmer Health Director, Susan Brumby
However, the report acknowledged that there are many aspects to rural and regional living that combat mental health issues, including community involvement and support.
VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter stated that having a strong social network and community can help young people’s mental wellbeing.
Young people in regional and rural communities have identified one of the things they like most about their community is how people come together during difficult times like drought or fires.
- Jerril Rechter
But the report means nothing if we change nothing. What changes would you like to see to help improve youth mental health throughout rural and regional Australia?