Rural Male Suicide in Australia

Citation:

Alston, Margaret. 2012. “Rural Male Suicide in Australia.” Social Science & Medicine 74 (4): 515-22.

Author: Margaret Alston

Abstract:

The rate of suicide amongst Australia’s rural men is significantly higher than rural women, urban men or urban women. There are many explanations for this phenomenon including higher levels of social isolation, lower socio-economic circumstances and ready access to firearms. Another factor is the challenge of climate transformation for farmers. In recent times rural areas of Australia have been subject to intense climate change events including a significant drought that has lingered on for over a decade. Climate variability together with lower socio-economic conditions and reduced farm production has combined to produce insidious impacts on the health of rural men. This paper draws on research conducted over several years with rural men working on farms to argue that attention to the health and well-being of rural men requires an understanding not only of these factors but also of the cultural context, inequitable gender relations and a dominant form of masculine hegemony that lauds stoicism in the face of adversity. A failure to address these factors will limit the success of health and welfare programs for rural men.

Keywords: Australia, suicide, men, rural, gender relations, masculinity, climate, farming

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Health, Mental Health Regions: Oceania Countries: Australia

Year: 2012

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