Dairy Crisis Appeal launched to support Aussie farmers
Lifeline Australia has launched an emergency appeal calling on Australians to help ensure thousands of dairy farm workers and their families have access to 24/7 crisis support.
CEO Pete Shmigel said the national charity’s Dairy Crisis Appeal comes after urgent requests for assistance from the industry, with a number of organisations receiving calls from desperate farmers thinking about taking their own lives.
“The dairy crisis is having a significant and even heartbreaking impact in farming communities across the country and Lifeline needs the public’s support to be able to answer every call to our 13 11 14 helpline,” Mr Shmigel said.
“Thousands of farmers risk being thrown into financial ruin. Some don’t know how they’re going to feed their families. I can’t imagine what these families are going through, but I do know that many of them they’re hurting right now.
“My message to them is: if you feel lost, or that suicide is the only option, a call to 13 11 14 can be truly lifesaving.”
Mr Shmigel said that, with men in rural areas between 1.3 and 2.6 times more likely to die by suicide than those in urban areas, it is vital to ensure appropriate help is available anytime, anywhere.
“For those doing it tough on the land – often hundreds of kilometres from services – Lifeline’s 4000 Crisis Supporters can be the first and last line of help,” Mr Shmigel said.
“In addition to their incredibly kind-hearted work, we are also working with various private partners on building community capacity to deal with this situation. This will involve a reach out program to grow public awareness and train community members to better recognise and respond to the signs of suicide among their fellow workers, friends and loved ones.”
While the Victorian Government has announced an interim measure to support Lifeline, the charity needs more funds to make up the shortfall in calls answered each day and reduce waiting times.
To give to Lifeline’s Dairy Crisis Appeal and provide support to farming communities, click here.
For crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.