News

Industry workers away from family at higher risk of suicide

Compassion Coaching director Paul Stewart shares his insight on the suicide crisis in rural areas.
Compassion Coaching director Paul Stewart shares his insight on the suicide crisis in rural areas. Tammy Lewis

IT'S a real issue involving real people, and if anyone can help with the suicide epidemic, it is people like Paul Stewart.

Psychologist and Compassion Coaching director Mr Stewart is a certified counsellor and life coach who works in the Gladstone region.

Throughout his career Mr Stewart has worked with many people who have been suicidal.

"I can actually say some have attempted, but to my knowledge I've never had anyone who I have worked with take their own life," he said.

In relation to regional areas such as Gladstone, Mr Stewart agreed suicide was much more of an issue than in other locations.

"You have so much industry," he said. "So many men who are here working in conditions that are not family orientated.

"We've got fly-in-fly-outs who are coming in that may be away from their families for long periods of time and this can add to the stress on them and their families."

Mr Stewart said the sense of disconnection could eventually lead to feelings of suicide.

"And if they are vulnerable, and I think they are, then they're at risk of depression and potentially, if the circumstances are right, of feeling suicidal," he said.

Suicide statistics don't show the true picture

In Australia suicide statistics are alarming, but Mr Stewart has his concerns about the reliability of current statistics available to the public.

"What's interesting is in Australia, the coroners' departments have most often not reported suicides as being suicides, but more often as just accidents," he said.

"The grounds on which they tend to do that are to try and protect people from hidden news that a loved one has taken their life.

"So our statistics on what suicide rates actually are - who knows - they're highly distorted.

"One thing I would be safe in saying is suicide rates are a lot higher than what we generally know about."

Mr Stewart believes the heartbreaking problem is not talked about enough.

"There was a trend in counseling a while back that if you talked about suicide somehow you would plant that idea in people's heads and it became taboo," Mr Stewart said.

"I think today we believe differently, that it's okay to talk about, but still I think there's a lot of taboos connected with it."

Mr Stewart said for people to feel suicidal, it was usually because they had developed a kind of tunnel vision around their life.

"They are seeing the possibilities of what they can do and it has been really closed in," he said.

"This is the only way they can deal with life."

On the upside, there is help for people experiencing these feelings.

"The process then is about opening it up for people to see that their life is not whatever that issue of pressure is that's causing them to be overwhelmed," Mr Stewart said.

"It's about showing them there are other aspects to their life."

Mr Stewart has formed a group in Gladstone called Insight Men's Circle, which focuses on helping men open up and share their feelings and problems in a supportive environment.

For the men who come along to the group, anything shared is greatly respected.

When asked whether he believed it helped, Mr Stewart said simply: "Absolutely, and it may not necessarily be, 'I feel like killing myself'. It can just be a sense of talking about, 'This is what's going on in my life at the moment'."

For families who have lost loved ones to suicide, Mr Stewart said it was essential to talk about it with someone trustworthy.

"For people who are close to someone who has committed suicide, the risk for them to commit suicide increases dramatically."

The most important thing for people to remember is that there is help available, and Mr Stewart's overall advice is something for all to remember.

"Seek support," he said. "Don't do it alone."

Topics:  fifo, gladstone, paul stewart, suicide, suicide prevention




16-yo Gladstone model knows what she wants and is on her way to getting it

Gladstone girl Josie McAullay won the 2015 Miss Country Girl Australia Gladstone preliminary and will be representing Gladstone in September at the MCGA National Final against 79 other hopefuls from around Australia.

Laidback 16-year-old Gladstone model dreams of life by sea.

Gladstone man charged after search warrent reveals alleged drug lab

Police from the Gladstone Criminal Investigation Branch have charged a man after locating an alleged clandestine drug lab in Gladstone Central yesterday.

At 9am police executed a search warrant at a Central Lane address.

Busy Gladstone facility to receive $3m revamp

Community and youth development officer Bec Frost is really happy about the new funding for the PCYC. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer

The expansion will boost jobs too, with a "locals first” focus.

Latest deals and offers

What's on the small screen this week

Bella Frizza in a scene from the TV series Married At First Sight.

THE Block's $65,000 bathroom is revealed and strangers marry.

MOVIE REVIEW: Life on the Road

Ricky Gervais, Ben Bailey Smith and Foregone Conclusion (Steve Clarke, Andy Burrows, Stuart Baxter Wilkinson, Michael Clarke) in a scene from David Brent: Life on the Road.

Ricky Gervais has brought David Brent back to life on the big screen

Jessica Alba wants tequila shots served at her funeral

Businesswoman and actor Jessica Alba

There won't be mourning at this funeral

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

Charlize Theron's son dresses up as Frozen character

Actor Charlize Theron

Star's son spotted dressed a beloved Frozen character

BOOKS: Food for thought in Caroline Beecham's latest novel

Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

New novel reminds readers that bravery exists in many forms

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Gladstone landlords in trouble with Bechtel job losses

"If a big project was announced tomorrow I wouldn't want to see it"