LIVE in the bush?
Got 15 minutes?
Amy Kaukianien needs your help.
The Moree-raised Provisional Psychologist is completing the final year of a Masters Degree at Griffith University and needs rural voices to complete a survey and help her research.
Over the last year and a half, Ms Kaukiainen has been conducting research under the Australian Institute of Suicide Research and Prevention to determine what could be preventing rural residents from seeking help for common mental illnesses.
An integral part of Miss Kaukiainen’s research relies on the completion of a quick, anonymous, online survey, particularly by adults living in rural areas.
The survey takes 15 minutes in total and will be used to provide evidence for future initiatives to combat rural mental health issues.
“Ideally future mental health funding will be put towards initiatives rural people actually believe they might use and benefit from,” Miss Kaukiainen said.
- Live in the regions? Take Amy Kaukianien’s survey here!
- Need someone to have a yarn with? Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
Instead of completing my research from the city and hoping I know what’s best, I want to ensure I have the opinions and knowledge of the people it’s affecting
Ms Kaukiainen credits the admiration she has for her upbringing and the people of bush communities as the main influence of her passion for rural mental health.
Ms Kaukiainen said the mental health gap between rural communities and metropolitan areas has never sat right with her.
“Remote men in particular are 2.6 times more likely to die by suicide than men living in metropolitan areas,” she said.
A significant part of Miss Kaukiainen’s research is looking at the personality factors of people in rural communities and how that could be influencing their decision to seek help.
She’s also looking at rural people’s attitudes towards mental health professionals, a lack of services in rural communities and how the influence of a high-risk industry such as agriculture can affect someone’s mental health.
“I want to hear what rural people think”
For Miss Kaukiainen, the key to addressing the mental illness epidemic in rural Australia is hearing from the people who live the country lifestyle.
“I want to hear what rural people think could help this problem,” she said.
“Instead of completing my research from the city and hoping I know what’s best, I want to ensure I have the opinions and knowledge of the people it’s affecting.”
While Miss Kaukiainen said not every person from the country would suffer a mental illness in their lifetime, there’s a good chance they’d be impacted by one in some way.
“When someone dies by suicide in rural communities, everyone is affected by it,” she said.
“Suicide can be preventable if individuals know where to seek help and feel as though they can without negative consequences or judgement.”
Miss Kaukiainen said it was common knowledge that people from the country, especially men, were associated with a tough persona and a desire to solve their own problems.
The main aim of her research is to address these generalisations and the reasons why people feel as though they can’t seek help and then inform others about them.
“I’m hoping this research will educate people on how to address this mental health gap and improve help seeking behaviours of rural people in the future,” she said.