Rural Alive & Well (RAW) began in Tasmanian in 2006 when Founding Ambassador, John Jones OAM, convened several community forums in Southern Midlands and Central Highlands, exploring the issue of suicide. He was concerned about the health and well-being of rural communities who were recovering from severe droughts, and the lack of early intervention and mental health support for rural people was having a detrimental effect.
In 2007, a Committee was formed to help farmers and rural community members who were impacted by drought.
The committee consisted of community representatives, and the group continued to explore issues around suicide and educate the broader community on suicide prevention.
In 2009, Rural Alive & Well Inc. was officially incorporated, and soon after became a not-for-profit organisation and registered charity.
Over the past 15 years, RAW has grown from a handful of volunteers across the Central Highlands and Southern Midlands regions, to now having 23 staff in roles across community engagement and outreach support teams.
RAW programs deliver tailored prevention programs across agriculture, forestry, seafood, transport, and rural and remote sectors.
Each program specialises in delivering proactive outreach and one-on-one psychosocial support that addresses situational stressors unique to the area and industry, whilst also increasing protective factors, to minimise the risk of suicide.
RAW is ‘non-clinical’, genuine and non-intrusive. Outreach support is confidential with no fees for participants.
RAW typically works with individuals who are traditionally stoic and help hesitant. In 2022, RAW saw 61.5% of all referrals for program support be self-referrals. These are people who hadn’t previously used or asked for mental health and well-being support before.
To be able to break down the barriers to seeking support, RAW choose to employ staff who each have first-hand experience with the complexity of living and/or working in rural, remote and primary industry sectors.
Staff have backgrounds in Dairy, Livestock, Cropping, Growing, Wool Production, Forestry, Transport and Seafood. The proactive outreach support delivered by RAW is at no cost to individuals. Supports offered are non-clinical and operate using a person-centred shared goals approach.
RAW adopts a culturally sensitive, strengths-based, and collaborative approach to program delivery and staff receive ongoing training and support to provide evidence-informed care to people.
If you would like to find out more about Rural Alive & Well we encourage you to head to the website or Facebook page.