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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2009
CA TTLE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA YEARBOOK 2009 ADVERTORIAL Depression in farming families: the facts Country residents are skilled at managing their land, machinery and their stock but they often neglect their health and mental health. beyondblue: the national depression initiative is collaborating with community agencies and rural doctors in remote, regional and rural areas to raise awareness of depression and where to get help for farmers and their families. distress combined with a reluctance to ask for help can put country people at risk of developing anxiety and depression. W Despite a misguided view that it’s “all in your mind”, depression is a serious illness that affects one in six men and one in four women at some point in their lives. It is estimated that one in 10 rural Australians currently lives with a mental illness. There is no evidence that depression is more common in rural areas than in cities, however, research strongly suggests that rural men in particular often go undiagnosed and untreated. the role of your doCtor Doctor Rob Grenfell is a General Practitioner who works at a small practice in Natimuk, Victoria, a rural town with a population of 700. He says there is no doubt depression and anxiety are still incorrectly viewed as a “weakness” in his community, however, as awareness of the conditions grows, more people are beginning to feel comfortable discussing it. “Health professionals are usually extremely busy in rural areas and people don’t want to bother GP s with what they think is unimportant. A patient might start to open up and they might make a remark ‘like you’re too busy to listen to this nonsense’,” Dr Grenfell said. There is no evidence that depression is more common in rural areas than in cities, however, research strongly suggests that rural men in particular often go undiagnosed and untreated. 84 “But your psychological well-being is very important and GP s can do a lot. They can be an ear to listen to your health problems and offer advice, can offer access to subsidised rural mental health services and develop a Mental Health Plan for you covered by Medicare. men and depression Chairman of beyondblue, The Hon. Jeff Kennett, says it’s important to remember that you can’t take care of your farm, your business and your family properly if you don’t look after yourself first. For people with internet access, another useful resource is the Rural Assistance Information Network (RAIN) Map on the beyondblue website. The interactive RAIN map shows financial and mental health services available to country people in their region. To use the RAIN map, order free resources, or for more information on depression and anxiety – signs, symptoms, available treatments and where to get help, go to www.beyondblue.org.au Or you can call the beyondblue info line on 1300 22 4636 (local call cost from a landline). hile it’s not unusual for farmers to ride out tough times caused by a bad season, lack of rain or cash flow problems, severe 1117_CCA Yearbook 2009.indd 84 5/5/09 8:01:44 PM