PLANTING THE SEEDS OF MENTAL WELLNESS
Australian farmers are often referred to as the ‘backbone’ of our nation.
They play a vital role - both domestically and internationally - in maintaining Australia’s high standard of living by providing fresh, quality food that has been grown, stored and transported to strict food safety standards; and ensuring that our economy remains robust by exporting this produce worldwide.
Despite their service to our community, many farmers have actually been doing it very tough themselves - particularly in the past few years.
Farming communities are at the mercy of Mother Nature. When there is a natural disaster such as the recent drought or bushfires, crops are destroyed and farmers are left without an income for a prolonged period.
This can have a domino effect on entire rural communities, as job loss is experienced within related industries (e.g. transport), workers are forced to move on to other towns and local businesses are left with a reduced customer-base.
As a result of this economic uncertainty and other factors, mental illness and suicide rates are significantly higher in outback and rural Australia, compared to that of the major cities - 66% higher, according to the National Rural Health Alliance.
People in rural and remote communities are also exposed to other stressors that aren’t as common in major cities. These include social isolation; logistic limitations on escaping domestic violence and abuse; limited employment and education opportunities; boredom; a culture of staying silent about mental health issues; and higher rates of alcohol and drug abuse.
Paradoxically, despite reporting higher rates of mental illness, rural communities often have less mental health services available per capita than cities. There is also less public transport, making it difficult for many people to access these services elsewhere.
For people from diverse backgrounds, there is the additional pressure of conforming to rigid patriarchal ‘norms’; compounded with the absence of others from similar cultural backgrounds, religious groups or with similar sexual preferences. In particular, members of the LGBTIQ community can feel pressured to remain ‘in the closet’ and people of colour can experience more frequent casual or overt racism; all of which can cause extreme distress, fear and frustration and compound any mental health issues considerably.
If you’re living in a rural or remote area, struggling and finding it difficult to access professional help or seek support from your social network, please know that help is available.
In an emergency, call 000. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 any time for free.
Artius Health’s team of qualified, caring and experienced Psychologists offer ongoing support with the same Psychologist via Telehealth, no matter where you live in Australia.
Pension Card and Health Care Card holders are bulk-billed and some NDIS plans may cover the cost of treatment. We accept NDIS, DVA, WorkCover, Private Insurance & PHN referrals; although referrals are not mandatory to access this service.