Introducing Session Speaker Dr Alison Kennedy

Dr Alison Kennedy, Research Fellow, National Centre for Farmer Health will present at the upcoming 8th Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium on The Ripple Effect: An Innovative Digital Response to Reducing Suicide Stigma Among Farming Men.

Dr Alison Kennedy Dr Alison Kennedy

Suicide rates in Australia's rural farming areas are higher than those of the general population (particularly for males), increasing the likelihood of a personal experience of suicide for members of this community whether through attempting suicide or having thoughts of taking their own life, being bereaved by suicide, caring for someone who has attempted suicide, or some other experience of suicide. The cultural and contextual elements of farming work and life contribute to the self-stigma experienced by farming men presenting challenges to providing accessible, appropriate and acceptable support to those with a lived experience of suicide. This presentation outlines the collaborative development of an innovative digital intervention launched in June 2016 designed to reduce the self-stigma associated with a lived experience of suicide.

The Ripple Effect is a personalised, peer based yet anonymous online platform that operationalises Kolb's experiential learning process in combination with the principles of contact and education to reduce stigma through shared stories and experiences, accurate information and links to local, state-based and nationally available support. A Steering Group of researchers, health professionals, industry representatives, digital designers and farmers with a lived experience of suicide guides the intervention. Recruitment to the Ripple Effect is being community driven and supported.  The intervention is being evaluated using an adapted version of the Stigma of Suicide Scale (SOSS), the Literacy of Suicide Scale (LOSS) and qualitative interview data. Results to date will be highlighted in this presentation.

The 8th Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium brings together leaders in Australian mental health presenting and sharing the latest developments in rural service provision and research.  This year’s symposium promises to be our best ever, providing opportunities to learn, discuss, workshop and network with others who share a passion for rural and remote mental health.

For more information and to secure your spot at this important event please visit the symposium website.

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Mr David Meldrum, National CEO, Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia.

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