S4 E5: Decision making and stress

We make hundreds of decisions each day. Sometimes, we have to make tough decisions under pressure, and the decision itself can cause stress. Short-lived stress can be useful in completing tasks and achieving goals. However long-term stress can have a negative impact on both our physical and mental health. In this episode we explore the things we can do to minimise stress and help in the decision-making process.

Guest Speakers

Phil Graham has worked extensively in the agriculture industry having spent 30 years working with the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Phil’s area of expertise lies in sheep, wool and grazing systems. During his time in the industry, Phil has both witnessed and experienced first-hand the impact stress can have on a person’s ability to make professional and personal decisions. 



Matt Milne joined the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) team in 2019 and supports communities across the Hunter New England Local Health District. Matt’s background is in psychology, having previously trained and worked as a registered psychologist in Tamworth. 

Matt is passionate about giving back to rural communities and helping people in the best way he can by providing support and instilling hope when times are tough. Matt loves talking to different groups of people, providing information and support, and problem-solving.

Tips for making a decision include:
  • Describe and prioritise – Think about the decision and how important it is. Aim to spend more time making the important decisions and less time on others. If you are feeling overwhelmed by a decision, try breaking it down into smaller parts. You might find it easier to make a series of small decisions.
  •  Know your timeframe – Think about the amount of time you have to make the decision and what information you need. Remember, delaying or avoiding a decision is choosing not to act.
  • Ask others for advice – It can be helpful to talk about your options with family and friends or a professional. They may have a different perspective or
    have information and knowledge to assist you.
  • Consider your options – Think about the possible options and consider the benefits and results of each.
  • Take action and evaluate – It’s important to evaluate the decision and to be flexible if things change. It can help to monitor the situation and to reassess down the track. Sometimes our original decision might not have been the most beneficial. Remember, the decision made was the best at the time with the information at hand. If you are having trouble making decisions and find that it is affecting your day-to-day life, it might be time to talk to a mental health professional. They can help guide you through the process and give you some more strategies.


CRANAplus Bush Support Services – 1800 805 391

The chal­lenges that face Remote Health Work­ers in their day to day lives (both at work and just by liv­ing remote­ly) are dif­fer­ent than those liv­ing with the sup­port found in larg­er region­al and urban areas. CRANAplus’ Bush Sup­port Ser­vices recog­nis­es this and offers unique and help­ful resources that draw on its vast net­work and spe­cialised knowl­edge. CRANAplus sees Bush Sup­port Ser­vices as vital in retain­ing a healthy and resilient work­force in the remote sec­tor and makes health work­er sup­port a priority.

Through Bush Sup­port Ser­vices, CRANAplus is able to pro­vide 24/7 per­son­alised care for remote health work­ers and their families. 

You don’t have to be a mem­ber to utilise this service.

CANAplus qual­i­fied psy­chol­o­gists are expe­ri­enced in the remote sec­tor and know first-hand, the best resources for those with unique sup­port needs. They have an under­stand­ing that the par­tic­u­lar men­tal health of both Indige­nous and non-Indige­nous remote health work­ers is a result of the unique nature of remote work.

It’s free and it’s con­fi­den­tial. You can also remain anony­mous at all times, if you wish. Calls from mobile phones to the Bush Sup­port Ser­vices 1800 805 391. Toll Free Num­ber can be returned at the caller’s request.

This Way Up

This Way Up provides step-by-step strategies for managing stress, anxiety and low mood.

Their range of tailored online courses are designed to teach you proven psychological skills to transform your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours so you can make a positive change in your life.

This Way Up is run by clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, researchers, and web technicians based at the Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression (CRUfAD) – a joint facility of St Vincent’s Hospital and the University of New South Wales.

MensLine 1300 78 99 78 www.mensline.org.au 

A 27/7 confidental telephone service that provides information, support and referrals for men with family and relationship concerns and is staffed by qualified professionals experienced in men’s issues. Counselling can also be provided online or via video (24 hrs/ 7 day)

The website provides information on relationships, parenting and mental health and wellbeing.

Rural Financial Counselling Service

Rural Financial Counsellors are there not only to help identify the types of assistance and options that are open, but to help people look at the big picture and long term for their business. They provide free information and assistance on financial position, budgets and submitting applications to primary producers, fishers and small rural businesses.

NSW Rural Assistance Authority – 1800 678 593 – www.raa.nsw.gov.au
Provides information on financial assistance to primary producers and small businesses in rural NSW.

RAMHP has an interactive fact sheet – Let’s talk decision making– which is a useful decision making tool.

Help Services 

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 NSWMental Health Line 1800 011 511 for advice. 

Having a tough time and need someone to talk to right now? The following services are there to listen and help you out. They are confidential and available 24/7.