Be strong and ask for help

By Steve Mudd posted 14-09-2023 10:14


Be strong and ask for help

Farmers and rural communities are being encouraged to look out for each other with tight finances and dry times ahead causing concern for the sector.

Corowa farmer and mental health advocate Derek Schoen said he had a clear message for the bush this R U OK? Day.

“Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness,” Mr Schoen said.

“We still have a bit of an old-fashioned mindset in the country when it comes to mental health and that needs to change.

“There’s no shame in letting someone know you’re struggling, and we all need to be ready to sit down and have a chat with mates or family members who are finding things hard.”

Reports of El Nino conditions this summer and intensifying drought conditions in various parts of the state had put some people on edge, Mr Schoen said, while rising interest rates and falling saleyard figures had cut into some farmers’ bottom lines.

“You can’t look after your business if you’re not looking after yourself, and that’s why it’s so important to break down the stigma around mental health,” he said.

“It’s not just laying on a couch talking to a psychologist, even something as simple as having a talk to a trusted friend can help prevent problems from getting too much to handle.

“Don’t get lost in the ‘what ifs’, focus on what you’ve got – friends, family, a community, and plenty of support on offer if you need it.”

By taking the time to ask a co-worker or a mate “are you ok?” and genuinely engaging with them, Mr Schoen said, everyone could help those around them feel supported and connected.

Visit to find out more about the campaign. Those needing support can also access free rural mental health services such as:

National Centre for Farmer Health:
Rural Adversity Mental Health Program:
Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14 
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
NSW Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Date: Thursday, September 14, 2023
Media Contact: Steve Mudd  | 0429 011 690 |
1 comment



12-10-2023 20:48

Agree completely on the mental health and asking for help. The great thing about running a farm is that you're away from people and the livestock don't demand too much. Downside is that problems can magnify. I found I got quite stirred up moving my sheep at Tullamore whereas my cattle at Braidwood were quite calming. Calm is better.

But getting or feeling hassled by the bank, as I think Sara Storer sang, can get one down. In my 40 odd years for helping farmers calm the bank down, I have never found a debt problem without a reasonable solution. We don't let the stock run the farm and nor should we let the bank do so. We just need to make the stock and the bank go where we want them to go. The earlier we make that clear the easier it is, but at any time we can take control by cracking the whip.

Better to fix it than stew about it!