Asking for help is good for your community
SOMETIMES all that is needed to save a life or pull someone out of the depths of depression is a phone call from a mate, a home-cooked meal or a beer.
This the message Lifeline’s rural outreach teams spread as they visit Darling Downs communities buckling under the pressure of the worst drought in living memory.
“In times of drought, a farmer’s workload increases dramatically so even that simple connection with their friends and family drops away,” co-ordinator Jodie Edge said. “They are not keeping on top of bills, medical appointments and all that basic stuff, and they are not connecting with friends and family.”
This isolation compounds the sadness many farmers feel when they decide to cull stock, sell-off equipment or tell the bank manager they will not make an overdue payment.
Lifeline’s community outreach teams work to break this isolation by empowering people to approach neighbours they suspect to be struggling.
The Toowoomba group prepared a fact sheet of aid organisation contacts that farmers can hand to each other. Ms Edge said 10,000 copies had flown out the door.
“Someone will suspect their neighbour is struggling, and their instincts are usually right,” she said.
“You do not need to have counselling skills, just offer practical help.”
The current drought has dragged on for years but despite the attention Ms Edge said there were still plenty of farmers unaware of the help available, or they were too proud to ask for help.
To combat this Ms Edge asked farmers to think how helping themselves helped their wider community.
“To take a grant, a loan or some free hay means there is more money to spend at the shops. Consider it a way to bring money into a community,” she said.
If you need help, or know someone who does, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.