2 June, 2023
Mental health booklet targets rural centres
AS one in five rural and regional Australians experience mental illness, a resource dedicated entirely to primary producers has been launched in Queensland.
In an Australian-first, “Mental Health on the Land” was produced by The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and is available for free to those living in regional Queensland thanks to funding from Thankful4Farmers.
Developed by expert clinicians, the book offers practical mental health and wellbeing information to help those facing natural disasters, droughts, financial stress and geographic isolation and reduces the barriers for seeking assistance.
It includes information on stress management, coping strategies, and seeking help when needed, as well as pro-viding tips on how to stay connected with others, even when physical distance is a challenge.
RFDS Queensland delivers more than 12,100 mental health consultations annually and has the largest mental health service of RFDS sections across Australia with clinicians operating in areas as remote as Lockhart River in Cape York and all the way to Camooweal on the Northern Territory Border.
Royal Flying Doctor Ser-vice Queensland CEO Meredith Staib said “Mental Health on the Land” had been written specifically to support the mental health and wellbeing of people living on the land in addition to consultations and services.
“People living in rural and remote locations face the same mental health challenges as those in other parts of Australia – such as relationship issues, finance problems and work pressures.
But they have added pressures with stress caused by the environment and natural disasters, isolation and working very long hours,” she said. “Sadly, the mental health and wellbeing of people living in regional and rural Queensland can be overlooked due to their remoteness and lack of access to appropriate services.
“Through ‘Mental Health on the Land’, they can learn about coping with stress, keeping relationships healthy and dealing with difficult times on the land, as well as navigating serious mental health concerns.”
“We are enormously grateful to Thankful4Farmers, who generously provided a grant to fund the creation of the ‘Mental health on the Land’ book
We believe this book will provide lifesaving, practical support to many rural people and the entire community across Queensland for years to come."
Thankful4Farmers CEO, Kim McDonnell said the organisation was proud to provide the grant funding to the RFDS to develop and distribute the re-source.
“Mental health and wellbeing needs to be a regular topic of discussion in rural and regional Queensland. It’s not just during times of adversity, such as, natural disasters or droughts, that we need to be thinking about mental health,” she said.
“We need to create more opportunities for people to have open and honest conversations about mental health, regardless of their age, gender, or back-ground.
“The health and wellbeing of primary producers is a top priority for us. We want these people to be able to easily access information when things are getting too much for them. The book provides this, as well as, what to do if you or someone you know is in crisis.”