With the NSW Government declaring that 100 per cent of the state is in drought, and almost one quarter classified as being in “intense drought”, this episode focuses on what people can do to keep themselves mentally well during these tough times, and how to support others.
Richard Wilson is a grazier, originally from a South Australian farming family, moved to Western NSW approximately six years ago.
At the age of 21, Richards’s father was handed the family farm which he ran until he was 60 years old. Richard’s son followed his own dream and announced that he would like to buy a property in Western NSW. Before he knew what had happened they had bought it even before they had sold the property in South Australia. It was stressful but well worth the risk. Richard and his wife were adamant that they wanted to support their son in his decision. Despite droughts and sometimes challenging times, this is something they have not regretted and they have enjoyed being part of a connected community and culture.
After a chance conversation with another man about mental health, Richard realised he could see a lot of the same issues in his own life. After talking to his General Practitioner (GP), Richard received support for his depression. He now shares his story with other men, encouraging them to seek help if they themselves identify with experiences from his story.
Sally Balmain joined the North West Local Land Services (NWLLS) Ag Advisory team in 2015 with a livestock focused role. Sally now splits her time working out of both the Tamworth and Warialda offices while living in the Barraba region with her husband, on his family’s beef property . Prior to joining the NW LLS, Sally worked in the animal health field, and in ruminant nutrition. She began her career with a Bachelor of Systems Agriculture at the University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury,completing postgraduate studies at the University of New England (UNE), as well as time spent in the feedlot and northern extensive beef industries.
Lisa Minogue is a farmer from Barmedman in Central West NSW. Lisa farms alongside her husband John, they have two teenage sons, Lachlan and Conor.
Lisa and John operate a dryland mixed farming and grazing property growing winter cereal and oilseed crops. They also run merino sheep and Angus beef cattle.
Lisa worked as a Rural Financial Counsellor in her local community during the millennium drought and is now a board member on both the Veterinary Practitioners Board of NSW and on the New South Wales Farmers Association. She is also an Executive Councillor on the Rural Affairs Committee and represents the Association at the CRRMH’s Community Advisory Committee (CAC).
Disasters can strike at any time from accidents to natural disasters. We can find our mental health pushed and tested in many ways. In this podcast we share tips around keeping yourself and those around your mentally well during tough times.
Our new Fact Sheet: Let's Talk Managing Stress During Drought (437 KB) provides a quick reference of what signs to look out for that someone is stressed, how to support someone who is not coping, and includes useful phone numbers for services that can help you.
This ‘How Are You Going’ poster is another useful resource to help you check in with your wellbeing.
Podcast: In Let’s Talk Rural Mental Health- Series 1, we spoke to RAMHP Coordinator Di Gill; farmers from Western NSW Phil & Chris Munge, and Clinical Psychologist Dr Rob Gordon about Disasters, trauma and mental health. You can listen to this podcast here.
Our Fact Sheet: Let's Talk taking care after a natural disaster (783 KB) is another helpful resource including tips and support available.
During tough times your General Practitioner (GP) can be the most important person to talk to, if you are struggling with your mental health. While the stigma around mental health is improving, wanting to be resilient in times of distress can stop us all from reaching out for help.
Finding the right words to have a conversation with someone you are worried about can be tricky. Watch this video to see how this conversation can take place
Rob Gordon Check out this video where expert phsychologist Dr. Rob Gordon shares his knowledge on what people experience when they face a natural disaster
In July 2018, new research by University of Newcastle highlighted the need for targeted support of farmers affected by drought-related stress.
The research was published in the Medical Journal of Australia, read the full article here:
Drought-related stress among farmers: findings from the Australian Rural Mental Health Study – Medical Journal of Australia
The Conversation also published a piece related to this research which you can read here:
Hear directly from the Ms Emma Austin and Prof David Perkins by listening to this podcast hosted on the MJA
In the News:
This article in ABC online reveals how young farmers are finding innovative ways and fresh energy to deal with drought
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 000 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.
If you’re concerned about your own or someone else’s mental health, you can call the NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511 for advice.
Having a tough time and need someone to talk to right now? The following services are here to help. They are confidential and available 24/7.
- Lifeline – 13 11 14
- Men’s Line Australia– 1300 78 99 78
- Kids Help Line – counselling and support provided for young people (to 24 years old) who are feeling depressed, sad, or lonely – or just need someone to talk to – 1800 55 1800
- Domestic Violence Line – 1800 656 463
- Suicide Call Back Service– 1300 659 467