Community and Lifestyle

Survey seeks to better understand mental health issues among rural women

Beef Central, 03/06/2022

A RECENTLY launched online survey is exploring factors that might predict mental health help-seeking behaviour in rural women.

The survey is being conducted by qualified psychologist and well-known beef industry identity Liz Kirkby (nee Manchee), who is currently completing her honours year of study.

“It is important that attitudes toward mental health and health professionals is understood from a rural woman’s perspective,” Liz said.

“This research will contribute to a conversation and future research that can assess the underlying functions related to the decreased rate of help-seeking among rural and farming women,” she said.

For the purposes of the research, a rural woman is defined as any woman living outside an Australian major city in either an inner regional or outer regional or remote or very remote area of Australia.

“We will be focusing on how assumptions about gender roles, stoicism, self-stigma around seeking mental health help, knowledge about mental health, and distrust of mental health professionals affect attitudes towards mental health help-seeking,” Liz said.

Liz has been a prominent member of beef industry as part of Manchee Ag, and the Santa Gertrudis and Shorthorn breed societies all her life.

“I selected this topic as there has traditionally been research into farming men as a cohort, yet there is limited research on farming women, especially related to their help-seeking behaviour,” she said.

“Rural and farming people have an increased risk of suicide, and between 2015-2019 rural women committing suicide increased. It is an important area for research, and as far as I am aware, this will be the first study specifically looking at rural and farming women’s help-seeking behaviours.”

To qualify for the survey, you must be:

  • Female
  • 18 years and older
  • An Australian resident
  • Residing in inner regional or outer regional or remote or very remote area of Australia
  • Not currently experiencing a mental health episode that includes suicide ideation
  • Proficient enough in English, by your own assessment, to complete an online survey in English

The research has been approved by the Australian College of Applied Psychology Human Research Ethics committee.


To complete the survey, click here. 

For more information go to this Facebook page. 




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