Australian farmers are seeking mental health support at almost twice the rate they were seeking assistance last year, according to trusted rural charity, Rural Aid.
In the past two months, Rural Aid counsellors have conducted 277 counselling sessions, a 95 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.
Rural Aid’s counselling helpline is currently fielding an average of 13 calls each day from primary producers.
Rural Aid’s Manager of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Myf Pitcher, said the range of topics that farmers are worried about has also recently widened.
“Our farmers have moved from states of stress to states of desperation,” Myf said.
Sheep and cattle farmer Ron Dooley said the Rural Aid counselling service helped him get through a difficult time after the Black Summer bushfires.
“I had a bit of a mishap when I was fighting the front of the fire. I couldn’t see where I was going and I ran into a dam wall and stalled the tractor with the flames coming through the bottom of the tractor,” Ron said.
“After talking with Darren from Rural Aid, he [helped me to make] some decisions on what to do when feeling like that, and it did help,” Ron said.
Rural Aid counsellors catch up with their farmers where they’re most comfortable; whether it’s on farm, in town, or over the phone.
Contact Rural Aid’s counselling intake line on 1300 175 594.