A Western Australian farmer touched by suicide will donate the profits of his entire crop for the rest of his farming life to help mental health charities.
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- A Great Southern farmer vows to donate his entire crop profits to mental health charities
- Sam Burgess says he made the decision after losing a friend to suicide last week
- He says people who are struggling need to know that help is available
Sam Burgess, who farms near Arthur River — about 200km south-east of Perth — lost a friend to suicide last week and has dealt with his own mental health struggles in recent years.
Following his friend’s death, Mr Burgess decided to donate all profits from his 52 hectare crop to two mental health charities.
“I just want to do something,” he told ABC Great Southern.
Mr Burgess’s crop generates between $20,000 and $40,000 profit each year, which he will split between the charities, which he has chosen not to name publicly yet.
Too many lost to mental illness
Mr Burgess said mental health was affecting too many people in regional areas.
“I just had a mate who has unfortunately been taken by the black dog in the last couple of days,” he said.
“I thought I was a bit of a black sheep, the only one having problems.
“I started talking to people and realised there are plenty out there who have suffered … there’s always a story about someone battling.
“It’s got to stop. I’ve had too many people in my life do this.”
Mr Burgess says he hopes the money he donates will enable a help centre call line to continue to offer its services, and help another charity which focuses on the mental health of young people.
He said people needed to understand that help was available.
“Luckily, I was pushed a few years ago to go and get help,” he said.
He said people still seemed reluctant to seek professional help when needed.
“Whether it’s a stigma, shame or whatever, but people won’t or don’t know how to get help,” he said.
“There’s no shame in it. These services are out there and they are there to be used.”