Stock and Chat aims to spread the message to local farmers that support is available if they ever needed it.
Stock and Chat aims to spread the message to local farmers that support is available if they ever needed it. Jenna Thompson

Stock and chat about mental health

THE NEXT time you consume something that comes from a farm, take a moment to consider the following: farmers are estimated to commit suicide at roughly twice the rate of other Australians.

"Farmers are traditionally very stoic and self-reliant, but statistically they are less likely to reach out and get support," Rural Adversity Mental Health Program coordinator Steve Carrigg said. "Mental health doesn't discriminate, it can affect anyone at any time, but the important message is, if you're struggling and you need to reach out and have a chat with someone then do so."

Mr Carrigg and a variety of Northern NSW health services are looking to change these statistics with the launch of a new Stock and Chat initiative, the first held on Thursday at the Grafton saleyards, which aims to spread the message to local farmers that support is available if they ever needed it.

"This initiative is about bringing the information and resources, such as the Glove Box Guide to Mental Health, directly to the farmers," Samantha Osbourne, Grafton RAMHP coordinator said.

The Guide, which is a partnership between The Land and the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP), was established five years ago to provide a useful resource for Australian farmers challenged by the difficulties of living in rural and remote areas.

"From a male point of view this initiative and this guide are invaluable because it's not just about services, but about men reaching out and accepting the support that is offered," Mr Carrigg said.

While the guide is aimed at Australian farmers it is also available to anyone online: http://www.ramhp.com.au



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