Rural Suicide — 16 May 2014

The regional town of Sedan in the Murraylands of South Australia is looking for a brighter future after several suicides of local men.

The town population of about 150 has been shocked by the deaths and is keen to see more support services provided.

Mid Murray councillor Mardi Jennings says the town is a good place to live overall.

“We’ve had four suicides in the last two years and that’s four too many,” she said.

“I think there are people doing OK and doing well down here, it is a great place to live, but certainly there are members of the community that could do with some help.”bigstockphoto_Farmer_Moving_Sheep_4199952

The Mid Murray Council says Sedan is among Australia’s most disadvantaged communities based on incomes and levels of education.

Ms Jennings thinks government agencies are giving too little support.

“I and many others would like to see a more collaborative approach across government, getting together to support small communities and some of the difficulties that are facing them right now,” she said.

Dozens of people have attended a seminar organised by the Lutheran church to discuss the issues facing the town.

Pastor Graham Jenke says Sedan draws residents with its relatively cheap housing costs but they can find themselves isolated from support services.

“Because they’re not in regular contact with counsellors and doctors, we need to look out for these people,” he said.

Those who met shared their personal stories of coping with depression and the suicides of others and were given ideas of how to seek help if they or neighbours need it.

The Mid Murray Council is funding an expansion of the local men’s shed, the Sedan historic enthusiasts den.

Its president Dennis McCarthy is urging more of Sedan’s newcomers and the town’s older residents to get involved.

“If the authorities see that we’re busy trying to do something ourselves, rather than just groaning about it, something might happen and let’s hope it does,” he said.

This article first appeared on ‘Yahoo7′ on 16 May 2014.


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