Farmers are normally very resilient and innovative, but there are tough times when support in various forms is needed.
October is Mental Health Awareness Month and this is critical in rural areas, especially during this current drought. Locals have expressed their appreciation for the various drought appeals that are occurring and just knowing that people in the cities care has been a big boost to morale.
NSW Farmers Association is a strong supporter of RUOK? and the need for everyone to consider how their friends and family are coping. Many who need assistance are too proud to ask and often it is doctors who identify some of those at risk. It is OK to want someone to discuss issues with and it is better to seek help early.
Local support is available from:
- Rural Resilience Officer: Ted O’Kane 0427 781 514
- Rural Financial Counsellor: Beverley Houterman 0448 409 495
- Rural Adversity Mental Health Program Coordinator: Judy Carmody 0417 131 301
- NSW Rural Assistance Authority: 1800 678 593
Businesses in rural communities are also suffering as farmers are spending less in town whilst trying to source and fund fodder for stock and we encourage people travelling to spend money in small towns.
Where jobs are lost it may be an ideal time for people to attend TAFE and upgrade their skills. NSW Farmers strongly support more affordable skills training in rural communities. This is an area the government should urgently address.