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It’s OK to ask ‘Are you OK?’

FARMERS and other rural residents pride themselves on helping each other out in a crisis.

That pride is backed up through the selfless efforts of volunteers in floods, cyclones, bushfires and other natural disasters.

But there is one area where we are clearly failing many of our fellow rural residents, and that is in looking after each other's emotional well-being.

Figures compiled by the Griffith University paint an alarming picture of the number of suicides, particularly of young men, in rural areas.

Financial pressures, isolation, difficulties maintaining long- distance relationships and a misplaced bravado that holds people back from seeking help are all contributing factors, but there are things we can all do to help.

We've just had Are You Okay Day, which is a great initiative, but we should aim to do that every day.

If you think someone you know is struggling, be as sensitive as possible, but try to do what you can to get to the bottom of it and help.

That same sense of community we demonstrate in wide-scale crisis may be even more important in helping people deal with their personal crises.

► For assistance, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636

Topics:  comment health mental health suicide suicide prevention