Are you bogged mate? aims to boost awareness and start conversations in the community about the rising issue of depression and suicide rates among men in rural areas. We caught up with founder Mary O’Brien to find out more about the work they do.
Mary was raised on the land, so she understands the diverse challenges faced by the rural sector. In article she wrote called ‘Are you bogged mate?’, Mary highlighted that while there are services available for suicide prevention there is a disconnect in the way depression is being communicated to country men.
The topic struck a chord with many and gained international attention, which then led to the launch of Are you bogged mate? It aims to help connect country men with support services while breaking down the stigma associated with seeking help.
“Country blokes aren’t going to join a men’s group or catch up with mates to discuss their feelings, relationships, or finances over a double decaf latte at some hipster café that has kale on the menu. That’s not how they roll,” shared Mary.
“Rural men let off steam differently. They play footy, go camping, shooting, fishing, ride horses or dirt bikes, go water skiing, have a few beers with mates. These are just some of the release valves for rural men and they need to be supported and encouraged to do whatever it is that gives them release and not let the pressure build up inside.”
The statistics are alarming. Australian males between 15 and 45 years of age are one of the highest risk categories for suicide. Men are 3 to 4 times more likely to take their own life than women and the further you move from the coast into regional, rural, and remote Australia, the more that figure climbs.
Mary said that one of the most important things they advocate is taking time for yourself. That’s it’s ok to take a break from your responsibilities.
“You have to find a balance, if that means asking for help for a couple of hours so you can have a break, then do it. Make time for yourself a priority and make sure that time is spent doing something you enjoy.”
A core part of Mary’s work is breaking down the stigma around mental health. She does this through spreading awareness, as well as straight-talking speaking engagements and education events that challenge, enlighten and empower.
“Our goal is to take the serious stuff and make it friendly and relatable. We are not crisis support but we will connect you to resources that will help you,” explained Mary.
She’s been to plenty of mine sites conducting toolbox talks as well. Whilst Are you bogged mate? was initially aimed at helping rural men and in particular, farmers, Mary soon discovered that every industry has its challenges and the same message applies to all.
“In the mining industry we see long shifts, time away from family and plenty of other factors that can lead to stress and anxiety. Our approach can help you no matter what industry you work in.
“We all get bogged sometimes, but I promise you there is always a way out of the bog hole and there are plenty of people ready to help you.”
|To learn more about Are You Bogged Mate? or to find out when they will be hosting talks in your area, head to their website. You can also help support their work by making a donation or becoming a corporate sponsor. www.areyouboggedmate.com.au|