Farmers’ mental health in focus

By Country News

The mental health and welfare of farming and regional families will be a focus of the Building a Future program in Shepparton next month.

Held through Wellways, the program is in response to the recent warmest summer on record, taking a toll on farmers, their families and their livestock.

Course co-ordinator Marie Salakowski said the Building a Future program provided family and friends of anyone with mental health issues with skills and support tools to make a difference.

‘‘We know it’s a tough time to be on the land or out of work,’’ she said.

‘‘It can be extremely difficult to stay positive and keep a healthy mindset.’’

VFF president David Jochinke confirmed this in February when he said the drought was a near once-in-a-lifetime event that was ‘‘certainly taking its toll on farm businesses and the mental resilience of our farmers’’.

‘‘We are seeing the perfect storm unfold with prolonged drought, feed costs doubling, farmers spending most of their days hand-feeding stock and no end in sight,’’ Mr Jochinke said.

Wellways Building a Future is an eight-session mental health education and support program for families, friends and carers of someone experiencing mental health issues.

It provides strategies and skills to improve wellbeing, relationships and connect with services and support.

The program is free of charge.

■For information and bookings, phone Wellways on 58228600.