Suicide Prevention in the Saleyards
What has a red steer got to do with a black dog?
It's established that regional suicide rates are mugh higher ithan the national average, but how do we start conversations in regional areas around suicide prevention in order to drag the black dog of depression out of the closet?
"Lucky" the Blonde d'Aquitaine Steer helped Black Dog Ride kickstart conversations in the cattle saleyards of Muchea, WA, this week. He was donated by Popanyinning Farmers Neil and Cobie Francis, who are neighbours of Black Dog Rider and Mental Health First Aider Ray Sherry.
Neil says, "It's about raising awareness for suicide and depression and spreading Black Dog Ride's message to the wider rural areas. I spent many hours with a local family who lost someone through suicide; I have seen first-hand the effect it has on the family left behind. Ray Sherry has taken part in Black Dog Rides for several years and taught me all about the ride and what it stands for. We are proud to support this important cause."
Organised in little more than a week, Neil and Cobie trucked Lucky up to the massive Muchea Livestock Centre on Monday 27th June and he was the star of the day, initiating numerous conversations amongst farmers and stock agents. A common denominator amongst these conversations was the silence around suicide and depression, and that being able to talk about it openly brings relief from the sense of isolation.
The auction itself was lively with long time Black Dog Ride supporter Michael Borrello of Borrello Beef enthustiastically bidding for Lucky the Steer, but it was Kim McDougall of Harvey Beef who had the succssful bid of $3800 for our 514kg steer! Thank you and well done Kim and Harvey Beef for getting behind the cause!
Our sincere thanks go to Westcoast Livestock, Livestock Logistics WA, and Western Australian Meat Industry Authority who have generously wavered all commissions, handling and yard fees in support of this suicide prevention initiative.
A special thank you to Ray Sherry and particularly Neil and Cobie Francis for helping us to break the silence around suicide - with one of their steers!