Home' National Farmers Federation : Annual Review 2008-2009 Contents 136 NATION AL FARMERS' FEDERATION ANNUAL R EVIEW 2008-09
Help for those affected
by natural disasters
As well as addressing issues associated with
long-term drought, beyondblue: the national
depression initiative is working with various
relief and recovery agencies across Australia
to respond to the psychological impact of
recent natural disasters. A long-term strategy
is being implemented as a result of this
year's devastating bushfires in Victoria and
widespread flooding in NSW and Queensland.
beyondblue will work in partnership with the
Federal Government and various Divisions of
General Practice in flood and fire affected areas
to ensure relevant information is available to
everyone who needs it.
Community Support Workers are actively
distributing extra beyondblue information
materials around bushfire and flood-affected
areas. An envelope-sized information card listing
helpline numbers has been produced for people
who have been affected by fires or floods and
will be distributed in the coming months.
For more information on beyondblue's rural
initiatives, or to order a free rural information
kit, or other material, go to
www.beyondblue.org.au or call the
information line on 1300 22 4636 (local call
cost from a landline).
Another useful beyondblue resource is the Rural
Assistance Information Network (RAIN) Map on the
website www.beyondblue.org.au The interactive
RAIN map lists services available to country people
in their region. Information can also be obtained by
phoning the beyondblue info line -- 1300 22 4636
(local call cost from a landline).
Self-help book for rural residents
now available in 10th edition
Australian psychologist Doctor John Ashfield
wrote Taking Care of Yourself and Your Family in
association with the South Australian Farmers
Federation. The book is full of information
and practical exercises to help identify and
recover from depression, sleep problems, anger
management issues, anxiety and related drug
and alcohol problems.
Dr Ashfield has counselled people with
these problems who live in drought-affected
areas. From his experience, he says extreme
stress frequently goes unchecked and that's
when depression can begin to take hold and
left untreated can progress to a potentially
"Historically, surviving the demands of life
in rural and remote locations has always
required a capacity for self-sufficiency, coping
with isolation, improvisation, and dogged
perseverance," he said. "So it shouldn't come as
a surprise that, even in times of drought, some
people are slow to seek help."
He said a "prolonged and unremitting
sense of powerlessness" was a common
trigger for depression in country residents.
Unfortunately, stigma remains an issue in small
rural communities because of the perceived
embarrassment of being known to have
depression. However, he said the capacity and
desire of rural residents to help one another
should never be underestimated.
Addressing the mental health
burden of ongoing drought
People in rural communities in Australia are
used to toughing it out and have always been
extremely resilient. However, it is these same
qualities of self-sufficiency and resolve which can
sometimes make country people less inclined to
seek help for mental health problems.
Depression and anxiety are disabling conditions
and currently affect around three million
Australians. beyondblue: the national depression
initiative is working with rural communities
throughout Australia to raise awareness of
these common illnesses - the signs, symptoms,
where to get help and how to help a friend,
colleague, neighbour or loved one.
beyondblue's Don't Beat About the Bush!
campaign also aims to reduce the associated
stigma that often prevents people from getting
treatment. Last year, the campaign linked up
with the Mental Health Drought Initiative which
is funded by the Federal Department of Health
Depression and anxiety awareness
workshops are being held across
The Drought Initiative funding supports
beyondblue to partner with the Australian
General Practice Network to deliver depression
and anxiety workshops to educate business
and community leaders about the illness
and how to assist people to get appropriate
help. The Initiative also provides community
outreach and crisis counselling in rural, remote
and regional areas. At present, the depression
awareness workshops are being held in
drought declared areas in New South Wales,
Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.
Two years ago, beyondblue was approached
by agricultural supplier, Incitec Pivot, to train
their workforce to support their clients. Therese
Fitzpatrick, beyondblue's national workplace
program manager, coordinated these rural
depression awareness workshops.
"A lot of employees who were working with
farmers were going on to their farms for
business and seeing the level of distress and not
knowing how to discuss it," Ms Fitzpatrick said.
"The workshops were developed with the
company in branches across Australia to train
their staff to talk with farmers about these
issues. The rural sessions and workshops were
much more community-focused and proved to
be a success."
Since June 2008, over 60 of these sessions have
been held with general community members
throughout Australia with many more planned.
Links Archive Annual Review 2009-2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page