Three brothers have grown moustaches to encourage conversations about mental health in the farming community this Movember.
Having grown up with parents David and Debra Lawrence on the family farm in Avenel, Jock, 26, Max, 23, and Todd, 21, understand the effects of drought and financial stress on farmers’ mental health.
“We have an understanding that farming is tough and mental health is a massive problem that needs to be addressed,” Jock said.
Jock is currently running his company Mobble in Melbourne that digitises on-farm records.
He named his Movember group Mittagong Mo Bros after his family farm Mittagong, where Max is currently working and Todd plans to return.
Jock said farmers find talking about their feelings difficult, which is why he's showing solidarity for the cause.
“I have had friends who have experienced mental health issues,” he said.
“It’s been a good conversation starter and a chance to ask mates how they’re doing.”
On average, six men in Australia take their own lives every day and three out of four suicides are by men.
The Lawrence brothers are urging fellow farmers to have honest conversations with their friends and families without fear of being judged.
“I think there’s a stigma about farmers speaking about their mental health as we're expected to be ‘manly’ and ‘tough’ and mental health doesn’t traditionally fit in with that,” Jock said.
He said his family's dinner table was the chance to talk after a hard day's work on the farm, and he'd like to see other farmers do the same.
“In the same way that we’d ask a neighbour for help with a fence that has been washed out, it’d be awesome to see people reaching out when they’re not feeling 100 per cent.”
The three brothers started growing their moustaches at the beginning of the month.
“I don’t normally grow a mo, so during the month I’ve been getting questions like ‘what is that ugly slug doing on your face?’,” Jock said.
“I think the best moustache goes to Todd because he has a disadvantage as the youngest.”
Almost 100 000 people are raising funds and awareness for Movember this year along with the Lawerence brothers, who are hoping to raise $2000 for Movember.
To donate to the Lawrence brothers’ team, Mittagong Mo Bros, visit: moteam.co/mittagong-mo-bros