Media Release

Keep a farmer in mind on World Mental Health Day

10 October 2013

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, today used World Mental Health Day to highlight the important work of non-government organisations in providing mental health support services to our farmers and farming families.

“Our farming families live and work in rural Australia and can experience stresses that are different from their city counterparts, especially in the drought conditions being experienced in some parts of Australia at the moment,” Minister Joyce said.

“While they produce the food and fibre that other Australians rely on, we have to remember that they are geographically further from the services some of us take for granted.

“We have a responsibility to support our farmers to maintain strong economic, social and emotional health. We can’t wait until our people are in crisis to ask how they are travelling.

“This is why initiatives such as R U OK day and the great work conducted by Beyond Blue, Salvos and Vinnies are so important, as they provide on the ground support for rural Australians.”

The Australian Government also provides support to farmers and their families through the Department of Health initiatives, such as Headspace, which is Australia's National Youth Mental Health Foundation.

“Many farmers experience the stresses of financial difficulties and this why my department also provides free financial counselling to farmers and small rural businesses through the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS),” Minister Joyce said.

“There is a variety of great work being undertaken across rural Australia to support our farmers and their families, which aims to help them to be healthy, happy and continue to be world class producers.

“I look forward to seeing this great support work continue into the future and I’d like to thank those organisations who are contributing to support the health and wellbeing of rural Australians.”

More information on the RFCS can be found on the Department of Agriculture website.