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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

Living in a rural community can be a life enriching experience that many urbanites just don’t understand. Dealing with the impacts of the unpredictable and dramatic Australian weather and elements builds an amazing resilience in rural communities, but often comes at a cost. Social and geographical isolation can cause disadvantages in accessing health and wellbeing services. When support services are needed, they are sometimes too few and too far away.

Experiences and signs you 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 that used to be enjoyable
  • Increased alcohol and other substance use
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Low mood and feelings of worthlessness
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Feeling trapped
  • Feeling disconnected from others

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 (6pm-midnight AEST, 7 nights). 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

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.” His new goals are… well unexpected, but a range of initiatives are all in his self-help toolkit.