Over the last week, I have traveled around South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria speaking and have witnessed first hand the effects that one of the worst droughts in history is having on rural and regional communities. I have heard some heartbreaking stories and even though some areas have received rain the effects of the drought are unrelenting.
The obvious climatic and even economic effects can be plainly seen, it's not until you get to talk face to face and connect with the people in these communities that the effect on their mental health and wellbeing becomes evident and I am not just talking about the farmers, the ripple effect of the drought is spreading far and wide throughout the community.
Published in the March/April edition of The Australian Dairyfarmer magazine
Dairy farming can be a challenging business, with mounting business and seasonal pressures, focusing on how you are travelling as person and the state of your mental health can at times be neglected.
There is an undeniable bond between humans and their pets, whether you love dogs, cats, birds, ferrets or cows, for those who have pets, they can play a massive role in your life, they are part of the family but they also have a positive role to play in maintaining good mental health and wellbeing.
It occurred to Pooh and Piglet that they hadn't heard from Eeyore for several days, so they put on their hats and coats and trotted across the Hundred Acre Wood to Eeyore's stick house. They wanted to check on their friend, they were concerned.
With the recent, much publicised, high profile mental health battles and suicides in the news, sadly it reminds us that we still understand so very little about the individual battle that someone experiencing anxiety and depression goes through. Mental health battles don't discriminate. Often to the outside world things can look normal, hidden behind masks the illness is silent and invisible. For the person who is struggling with depression or anxiety the battle is real, it can be like Sleeping with the Enemy.
I speak a lot in my presentations about support networks and the importance of knowing who the five people are that you love, trust and know you could turn to for support and advice if things in your life went pear shaped. This could be anyone, your Wife or Partner, Mum or Dad, Brother, Sister Family, Friends, your GP, as long as you know who they are and preferably as part of enacting your “personal self-care plan” you have let them know they are your support network before the situation arises that you have to call on them. Because let’s face it, crap happens in our life from time to time and when under pressure, your judgment can be a little clouded and decision making can be impaired especially if you are also dealing with a mental illness or your world is crashing down around your feet. You need to know who can really be there for you.
Warren 'the unbreakable farmer' speaking at the Darling Downs Cotton Grower of the Year field day at Burradoo Plains, Chinchilla.
With depression now his master, he abandoned what was right,
There’s no place in life for failures, he’d end it all tonight.
There were still some things to do, he’d have to shoot the cattle first,
Of all the jobs he’d ever done, that would be the worst.
Author : Murray Hartin
"Do you ever have days when everything feels... Not Very Okay At All? And sometimes you don't even know why you feel Not Very Okay At All, you just know that you do."