Mining men with broken relationship at higher suicide risk

A BROKEN heart could prove fatal for Queenslanders, with mining men who take their own lives more likely to be reeling from a relationship breakdown than in other industries.

Research from the Australian Institute for Suicide Research at Griffith University to be presented today suggests male miners do not have a higher risk of suicide, but that most who ended their lives were facing trouble with their family or partners.

Senior research fellow Dr Samara McPhedran said it was not unusual for relationship problems to occur before suicide, but it appears more frequently in male miners.

Dr McPhedran said the research considered miners who ended their lives from 1990 onwards then compared them with other men who lived in similar areas but worked in other industries.

"Around 60% of these miners, there was a record of some kind of relationship problem before death," she said.
"It was 40% of men in other occupations.

"Relationship problems can take a whole range of different problems - they can be anything from arguments with a spouse, potential separation, actual separation and so on."

It could also include "broader family problem", she said.

Miners were not found to have any higher risk of mental illness or depression compared to workers in other industries.

Dr McPhedran said the research could lead to better support for those needing help, and consider why relationship breakdowns in mining are happening at all.

Although there is no evidence on why male mining workers are affected this way, Dr McPhedran said anyone needing help should never be afraid to ask for it.

"There are some great services and programs available to support people having relationship problems and it's absolutely OK to use those services," she said.

If you are feeling troubled, contact Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277, Lifeline on 131 114, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

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