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FED: Salvos seek to hit rural depression head-on

20 Nov 2008 6:41 PM

SYDNEY, Nov 20 AAP - Half a million DVDs featuring four rural Australians talking about their battles with depression will be distributed for free in the hope of cutting suicide rates in the bush.

The Salvation Army on Thursday launched its Braver, Wiser, Stronger projectDVD, which also contains explanations of how to deal with depression and how to get help.

It comes after a South Australian study revealed the suicide rate among male Australian farmers was almost 50 per cent higher than the average in rural communities.

Salvos spokesman James Condon said the aim was to offer solutions to the "depression crisis" across rural Australia, which often lacked GP and psychological services.

"We can't close our eyes and hope that it goes away," he said.

Thredbo landslide survivor Stuart Diver, who helped launch the DVD in Sydney, said Aussie males often believed they could "take it upon themselves" tofix their problems.

He said the project hoped to break down the barriers in seeking help when dealing with depression.

"If you break your leg you don't get the plaster out and try and fix it yourself," Mr Diver said at the launch.

"I went to some very very dark places where I couldn't get out of bed for an entire day, but through help and through people around me ... I was able to work through that."

The DVDs will be distributed via the Salvation Army website and a hotline -13 72 58 - as well as rural doctors and some local stores and service stations.

One of the DVD's subjects, Catherine Driver, who lives outside Charlton in Queensland, said she'd been willing to tell her story in the hope of makinga difference.

"I believe that if I told my story and it helped one marriage to stay together and stopped one person committing suicide then it was worth all the stigma I was going to get out there," she said.

A number of well-known Australians are supporting the project, including actor Jack Thompson, musicians Iva Davies and Troy Cassar-Daley, and former swimmer Duncan Armstrong.

AAP nrevtldjmn=0A