If life in danger call Triple Zero 000
If life in danger call Triple Zero 000

Rural Communities

“People often say, ‘I don’t know what to say so I don’t say anything at all.’’ But, those of us living in these communities, we know each other well. We’re in the best position to notice when the stress is getting too much. We just need to be ready to look out for each other, stay connected, ask if we’re ok; and, if the answer is ‘No’, then know where to go get help.” - Stephanie Robinson, Lifeline Central West

While there are many positive, supportive and enriching aspects of living in rural communities, extreme weather conditions and the impacts of social and geographical isolation can bring their own unique set of challenges. Many people living in rural communities are known for their resilience and strength, however prolonged exposure to these experiences can impact people in different ways, affecting mental health and well-being.

For some people, it can start to feel overwhelming. It is important to remember that there are things we can do to get through tough times and we don’t have to go through it alone. Difficult times can be easier to manage with the right help and support.

Experiences and signs you or someone you know may need support:

  • Physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach upset
  • Financial strain or concerns
  • Irritability, anger and mood swings
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Withdrawal from family, friends or things they used to enjoy doing
  • Increased use of alcohol and other substances
  • Changes to sleep patterns or appetite
  • Low mood and feelings of worthlessness
  • Feeling trapped or caught
  • Feeling disconnected from others
  • Thoughts of suicide

If you, or someone you care for is experiencing distress or struggling in rural communities, please call Lifeline to speak to a trained Crisis Supporter on 13 11 14 (24 hours / 7 days) or text Lifeline on 0477 13 11 14 (24 hours / 7 days) or chat online (24 hours / 7 days). We are here to listen.

Support services and resources

Rural and Remote Mental Health

For over 10 years now, Rural and Remote Mental Health have been delivering early intervention and prevention-based mental health programs Australia-wide.

Visit: Rural and Remote Mental Health

You Got This Mate

You Got This Mate provides tips and information to help rural men reach their best possible mental health.

Visit: You Got This Mate website

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment Drought Assistance

The assistance program helps farm families, farm businesses and rural communities prepare for, manage through and recover from drought.

Visit: Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment Drought Assistance

Rural Aid

Rural Aid is one of Australia’s largest rural charities. Well known for the highly successful ‘Buy a Bale’ campaign, the charity also provides financial assistance, water, and counselling to farmers in times of drought, flood, or fire. Other initiatives support its vision that farming and rural communities are safeguarded to ensure their sustainability both during and after these natural disasters.

Visit: Rural Aid

Holding on to Hope – Brendan’s Story

Everyone knows that rural depression is an issue. But few have considered the issues that cause it.

Farmer Brendan Cullen reached such a dark place he regularly sat in his car shouting at himself or on his bed sobbing. Today, it’s hard to believe the cheerful sheep station manager from Broken Hill found himself in such pain, until he lists the many factors that caused it: isolation, being on duty 24/7, feeling reluctant to ask for help during drought, constant pressure of new technology, being responsible for “the heartbeats of 10,000 sheep.” Brendan has shared his experiences and the strategies he keeps in his ‘tool kit’ to keep mentally healthy.