A subject that arises often in rural communities, mental health and wellbeing was the focus of the recent ‘Rural Minds’ workshop the Liebe Group hosted in Dalwallinu.
The workshop was facilitated by Jo Drayton – Wheatbelt Suicide Prevention Coordinator with Holyoake WCADS and developed by Rural and Remote Mental Health. The 22 local participants consisted of passionate farming men and women, resident teachers, and various other members of the community who were encouraged to ‘bring a buddy’ along.
Facilitator Jo Drayton guided the afternoon through a series of modules to gain a better understanding of the challenges that can be faced when dealing with mental health and wellbeing concerns in regional areas.
“The workshop presenter Jo was very passionate in her presentation, she made it very real, and we felt the impact of what is really going on in our state, communities and families” said workshop participant Narelle Dodd, who farms in the West Buntine region with her husband Mike.
“It gave an understanding into many aspects of mental health, the knowledge that also gives us confidence to identify or help someone that could be at risk – a strange or someone close to us. At times it can be incredibly confronting, this is why the knowledge is so important to prompt us to have the hard conversations, so we can try to make a difference and save a life.”
Defined as a state of wellbeing, mental health plays a significant part of how people can achieve their potential, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and make a contribution to their community.
Highlighted through the phrase ‘When in doubt, check it out’, the importance of seeking help was identified when someone is experiencing changes that may pose a risk to their mental health. This could include factors such as stressful life events, isolation, financial/legal problems, alcohol and other drug misuse and relationship issues, among others.
Many topics were discussed throughout the workshop including destructive thinking, PTSD, depression, anxiety, dementia and suicide.
Local Buntine grower Stuart McAlpine attended the workshop and said that “Mental health, wellbeing and suicide prevention is such an ongoing issue for us all in rural and regional communities. This course provided some great information to check how we are tracking not only at a personal level but also provided some great information for us to be able to look out and perhaps identify when our family and friends might need some help. Jo presented the information in a comfortable and relaxed way for what is a very difficult topic. I urge anyone to find time to do this course”.
Ending the afternoon with a social sundowner with a sausage sizzle provided an atmosphere of appreciation for the strong, resilient community that we are all lucky to be a part of.
Photos credit: Farm Weekly
If you would like information about the Rural Minds workshop, please contact Jo Drayton via JDrayton@holyoake.org.au