RFCS Gippsland recently hosted a Rural Mental Health breakfast forum Detect & Protect, attended by Agribusiness service providers and government representatives from across Gippsland.
A panel of expert mental health advocates and professionals volunteered their time to provide advice regarding farmer mental health to better understand what stops them reaching out for help, how to early detect concerns, as well as how to encourage talking and seeking the support available.
Facilitated by The Weekly Times publisher, Ed Gannon, the panel included members of PHN Gippsland, Latrobe Regional Hospital, RFCS Gippsland, Lifeline Gippsland, National Centre for Farmers Health and the Gippsland Jersey project.
Mr Gannon said after the forum it was an incredible experience.
“The room was entranced by what just happened. We talked about the stigma and warning signs of mental health and suicide.
“There were a lot of breakthroughs with farming service providers, and overall a very constructive day with great messaging and great conversations continuing after the event.”
The forum was well received by attendees, with many requesting more information sessions like these and on specific mental health topics, of which RFCS Gippsland plans to host numerous community events throughout Gippsland in 2019, focusing on how to start and have these conversions.
Kylie Holmes, executive officer of RFCS Gippsland said the aim is to create an awareness of farmer mental health concerns to those who deal with farmers on a regular basis, such as solicitors, accountants, bankers, stock agents, insurers, as well as regional representatives.
“These are the people who have farming clients and often meeting with them during times of crisis.
“We received so much positive feedback for the need of such forums, that we will be running more in rural areas throughout Gippsland to keep the
conversation going.
“I sincerely thank our panel of experts who volunteered their time to be there and share their experiences which really struck a chord with our audience.”
If you or someone you know needs help, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or go to www.beyondblue.org.au