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Suicide in Rural Australia: Are Farming-Related Suicides Different?

National Centre for Farmer Health, School of Medicine, Deakin University, Victoria 3300, Australia
Western District Health Service, Foster Street, Hamilton, Victoria 3300, Australia
Coroners Court of Victoria, Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, Victoria 3006, Australia
School of Nursing and Midwifery, LaTrobe University, Victoria 3086, Australia
School of Nursing and Healthcare Professions, Federation University, Victoria 3806, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 2010;
Received: 27 February 2020 / Revised: 13 March 2020 / Accepted: 16 March 2020 / Published: 18 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health in Agriculture)
Rural Australians experience a range of health inequities—including higher rates of suicide—when compared to the general population. This retrospective cohort study compares demographic characteristics and suicide death circumstances of farming- and non-farming-related suicides in rural Victoria with the aim of: (a) exploring the contributing factors to farming-related suicide in Australia’s largest agricultural producing state; and (b) examining whether farming-related suicides differ from suicide in rural communities. Farming-related suicide deaths were more likely to: (a) be employed at the time of death (52.6% vs. 37.7%, OR = 1.84, 95% CIs 1.28–2.64); and, (b) have died through use of a firearm (30.1% vs. 8.7%, OR = 4.51, 95% CIs 2.97–6.92). However, farming-related suicides were less likely to (a) have a diagnosed mental illness (36.1% vs. 46.1%, OR=0.66, 95% CIs 0.46–0.96) and, (b) have received mental health support more than six weeks prior to death (39.8% vs. 50.0%, OR = 0.66, 95% CIs 0.46–0.95). A range of suicide prevention strategies need adopting across all segments of the rural population irrespective of farming status. However, data from farming-related suicides highlight the need for targeted firearm-related suicide prevention measures and appropriate, tailored and accessible support services to support health, well-being and safety for members of farming communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: suicide; mental health; risk factors; farmers; rural population; Australia suicide; mental health; risk factors; farmers; rural population; Australia
MDPI and ACS Style

Kennedy, A.; Adams, J.; Dwyer, J.; Rahman, M.A.; Brumby, S. Suicide in Rural Australia: Are Farming-Related Suicides Different? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 2010.

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