24 June, 2024

All is not well on farms, says Rural Aid chief

Australia’s most trusted rural charity has been urgently assisting farmers who are battling increased levels of poor mental health in recent months.

By Supplied

All is not well on farms, says Rural Aid chief - feature photo

Rural Aid chief executive officer John Warlters said primary producers are feeling overworked, underappreciated, and anxious.

“In a recent Rural Aid study, one in two farmers said they’ve felt their mental health decline in the past year,” Mr Warlters said. “Seventy-six per cent of our farmers rated their mental health as poor, very poor or average.”

“These numbers show that all is not well on the farm.” It’s a sentiment echoed across the industry with Rabobank’s rural confidence survey showing farm confidence has plummeted in the past three months, Mr Warlters said.

Rural Aid’s mental health and wellbeing manager, Myf Pitcher, said weather conditions, biosecurity concerns, and disaster recovery are on farmers’ minds. “Our counselling team is making a really important difference every day, we’ve been all over the country supporting primary producers,” Ms Pitcher said. “From hay drops in South Australia, to water tank deliveries in Western Australia, and resilience and recovery conversations in Queensland, our mental health and wellbeing team have been working overtime to assist farmers with the challenges they’re currently facing.”

Mr Warlters said the record dry conditions in the south and west of the nation are proving especially difficult for farmers to deal with. “Rural Aid has organised and executed a support drop of hay, stockfeed or emergency household drinking water at the rate of roughly one per day over the last four weeks. The demand for hay in South Australia has been particularly strong.”

Rural Aid can’t do any of its vital work without the generosity of the Australian public, Mr Warlters added. “With tax time just around the corner, it’s a good time to consider a donation to Rural Aid. Thank you to every single person who has dug deep for our mates in the bush in their moment of need.”


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