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Rural and remote context

Despite the higher suicide rates, living in a rural area itself alone may not be a risk factor, as many factors attached to suicide are similar, irrespective of geographical location. However, some risk factors appear to impact more significantly in rural areas.20

Factors proposed for the high rate of suicide in rural Australia, include:

  • lower help-seeking behaviour – especially in men
  • higher rates of mental illness – particularly substance-use disorders
  • availability of lethal suicide methods (eg firearms
  • cultural stressors – particularly in areas with a high proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • climate-related factors
  • relatively limited availability and accessibility to mental health services and support
  • higher levels of social isolation.19,20,23


  1. Alston M. Rural male suicide in Australia. Soc Sci Med 2012;74(4):515–22.
  2. Kõlves K, Milner A, McKay K, De Leo D. Suicide in rural and remote areas of Australia. Brisbane: Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, 2012.
  3. Bridge S. Suicide prevention – Targeting the patient at risk. Aust Fam Physician 2006;35(5):335–38.
  4. Snowdon J. Why have Australian suicide rates decreased? Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2016;50(1):13–15.
  5. Suicide Prevention Australia. Position statement: Responding to suicide in rural Australia. Leichgardt: SPA, 2008 [reviewed 2010].


After suicide: A resource for GPs