Mental health workshops headed to Wide Bay region

OzHelp to deliver mental health support workshops in Bundaberg on 21 May and Kingaroy on 27 May

Life & Style
CARE for Rural Australia is a program that can improve your health and give you the confidence and skills to recognise when others need a hand. Picture: Sally Gall

CARE for Rural Australia is a program that can improve your health and give you the confidence and skills to recognise when others need a hand. Picture: Sally Gall

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The OzHelp Foundation will deliver a mental health support workshop in the Wide Bay-Burnett region on Friday 21 May.

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The impacts of drought, COVID-19, labour shortages and water challenges in the Wide Bay-Burnett region are having serious consequences on peoples' mental health and wellbeing.

The OzHelp Foundation, a provider of workplace wellbeing programs specialising in mental health and suicide prevention will be delivering mental health support workshops in the Wide Bay-Burnett region on Friday, May 21 in Bundaberg and Thursday, May 27 in Kingaroy.

The wellbeing and suicide awareness workshop focuses on the factors that contribute to, or detract from, overall health.

They have been specifically developed for frontline agricultural workers such as agronomists, bank managers, industry groups, agribusiness advisors and those who work in farming or agriculture.

OzHelp is partnering with rural wellbeing researcher, Dr Meg Perceval, to deliver the "CARE for Rural Australia" project, which is designed to empower frontline agricultural workers to better support farmers.

Dr Meg Perceval said she had a deep understanding of the issues facing people living and working in rural areas.

"I have spent most of my life living and working on a grazing property and have experienced the everyday pressures of farming," Dr Perceval said.

"Which is why I'm so pleased to be delivering the CARE workshops in Bundaberg and Kingaroy with OzHelp.

"My research in this field has strengthened my understanding of mental health problems and suicide issues among rural communities as well as factors that can really make a difference to improve people's overall health and happiness.

"I love sharing with others through the CARE program. I know it makes a real and positive difference for people".

General manager of Isis Canegrowers Angela Williams believes the need for these workshops is strong in the Wide Bay-Burnett region.

"Farmers in this region have struggled with the challenges of prolonged drought, the uncertainty surrounding the future of Paradise Dam, low commodity prices and the impact of COVID-19 in the last few years," Ms Williams said.

"Often, people like myself who work with farmers every day, find themselves in a situation where they become an 'accidental counsellor' to a farmer who is struggling with the challenges facing his/her business.

"The CARE action plan (Connect Ask Refer Encourage) helps people to care for others' wellbeing, and feel empowered to help, knowing they are using an evidence-based approach."

OzHelp Foundation is committed to contributing towards the evidence base to improve rural health and suicide prevention outcomes.

Towards this, they are partnering with the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention at Griffith University to independently evaluate the CARE for Rural Australia project.

Bundaberg Workshop

Date: Friday May 21

Time: 1pm - 5pm (arrive 12.30pm onwards for 1pm sharp start)

Location: Melbourne Hotel Function Room, Bundaberg (Targo Street carpark entrance)

Register here: https://carekingaroy.eventbrite.com.au

Kingaroy Workshop

Date: Thursday May 27

Time: 1pm - 5pm (arrive 12.30pm onwards for 1pm sharp start)

Location: South Burnett Enterprise Centre, 6 Cornish Street, Kingaroy

Register here: https://carebundaberg.eventbrite.com.au

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