World Mental Health Day shines a light on rural mental wellbeing

Issued Tuesday, Oct 10, 2017

The importance of mental health and supporting one another is being recognised today as part of World Mental Health Day, with WAFarmers encouraging people to take care of each other now more than ever.

“It is so important that people working in the agricultural industry look out for each other and actively support anyone who is doing it tough,” said WAFarmers Senior Vice President Lyn Slade, who farms with her husband David in Mount Barker.

“Farming is an industry in which people can often find themselves isolated or out of touch with others, whether that be through distance, seasonal conditions, financial pressure or just the nature of the job that may involve long hours of solitary work during busy times such as seeding and harvest.

“Today, on World Mental Health Day, we recognise the need to shine a spotlight on mental health, particularly in rural and regional areas, encourage everyone to assess their own mental health, and help others to get support.”

Mrs Slade said the stigma around mental illness needs to be addressed, and encouraged people to seek medical help and support in much the same way as with any other illness.

“Farmers are a very resilient group of people, but this does not mean that they are immune to mental health stressors,” she said.

“While we acknowledge that it is sometimes difficult to seek support from others or even admit that you need some help, everyone can do something to help shed a more positive light on mental health.

“Sometimes it’s just as simple as re-engaging with others through community groups, picking up the phone to see if someone needs to chat, or participating in mentally healthy activities – campaigns such as Act-Belong-Commit and R U OK Day are great at encouraging these sorts of interactions.

“It can even be as easy as making a mental health promise, which can be anything from promising to share your personal journey with family to help them better understand your experience, listening more openly to others, or ensuring your employees know the importance of mental wellbeing in the workplace.”

Visit www.1010.org.au/make-a-promise/ to make a #MentalHealthPromise and be sure to share your promise on social media.

ENDS.

All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Melanie Dunn on (08) 9486 2100 or melaniedunn@wafarmers.org.au.