Small Farms

Video to help farmers deal with mental health issues

A new video produced in south-west Victoria will help farmers and their families to battle through the tough times of living on the land.

The Western Region Alcohol and Drug Centre (WRAD), in conjunction with South West TAFE, has created the video to support farmers and their families who have mental health problems such as depression and anxiety and issues with alcohol and other drug use.

The two-part video features an interview Graeme Cowan, author of Back From The Brink which tells stories of prominent and everyday Australians who have overcome depression.

The video was instigated in Warrnambool in 2016 during the height of the dairy industry crisis. The two-part video runs for more than 30 minutes, with the second volume featuring practical advice for dealing with setbacks.

Mr Cowan came from a dairy farming background and in the video details his own battles with depression and the methods he used to recover.

Mr Cowan said people with issues should be gentle on themselves and not be afraid to ask for help when they’re not coping.

“No matter how dark things are…it is totally possible to come back from the brink. There is hope,” he said.

WRAD director Geoff Soma said the videos were designed to support farmers who were struggling to cope with their situation.

“The WRAD Board and South West TAFE believed it was timely to produce this resource because of the increasing proportion of people with problems such as depression and anxiety,” Mr Soma said.

“The video is particularly targeted at farmers and their families but the message and advice could apply to anyone battling these issues,” he said.

Mr Cowan had visited Warrnambool to conduct a seminar for Community South West on resilience and workforce culture.

Mr Soma said people struggling to cope should seek assistance. “It is important that people requiring support make contact with us as soon as possible to assist with the recovery process,” Mr Soma said.

“We hope this video will provide comfort and support for farmers and families experiencing mental health issues.”

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