Gippsland Dairy Farmers are leading the way in reducing stigma by sharing their personal stories in a calendar promoting help seeking and suicide prevention, being distributed throughout the Gippsland region.
The Gippsland Dairy Calendar was launched at Farm World 2018 - focusing on stories of 12 brave farmers sharing their mental health journey as part of the suicide prevention activities occurring in Gippsland. Farm World is one of Victoria's largest regional agricultural events, attracting more than 55,000 visitors over four days- a great place to directly engage with community in the region.
The project lead for the calendar, and co-owner of Gippsland Jersey, Sallie Jones stated that “this calendar will serve as a starting point towards breaking down the stigma attached to mental health in our rural communities. Our wish is that this calendar prompts honest and real conversations about a health issue that often we feel ashamed or embarrassed about.” Sallie’s dad, Michael Bowen, died by suicide in 2016 and she has dedicated her work on this calendar to his memory.
Calendars will be distributed free of charge to 1,400 dairy farms throughout the Gippsland region, where it will serve as a resource for farmers experiencing mental health struggles and an encouragement to seek help early. The calendar provides relevant assistance numbers for available health and welfare support services. Calendars can also be purchased by the wider community.
This project has been made possible by the Place Based Suicide Prevention Trials, operating in the Latrobe Valley and Bass Coast areas in Gippsland, with funding provided by the Federal Department of Health through the Gippsland Primary Health Network and the Victorian Government.
For more information about the place-based suicide prevention trial in the Gippsland PHN visit their website.
How are you working with the suicide prevention trial sites in your region?Submit your story!