By Royal Flying Doctor Service, Queensland
When discussing mental health in rural areas, there is often a focus on mental illness and suicides coupled with alarming statistics. RFDS (Queensland Section) in no way wants to ignore these figures, however it is important to remember that mental health and wellbeing is about so much more.
Resilience and determination are traits we all carry on some level and rural life presents endless reasons for tapping in to these traits. Expressions such as ‘if you fall off your horse, you get back on it again’ and ‘just get on with it’ are heard frequently as a response to tackling the challenges of rural life and for the most part, it’s a philosophy that works.
Challenges vary in size and impact and it is important to acknowledge that there may be times when ongoing hurdles make it that bit harder to ‘get back on the horse’. Stress can manifest itself in many physical and psychological ways from breathing and sleeping troubles through to depressive thoughts. How we deal with stress can impact not only our current and future health, but the wellbeing of those around us. Often by talking through our experience we can explore different and more helpful solutions and strategies, which may reduce the impact of challenging times on our health, and on the people around us.
Since April 2015, RFDS (Queensland Section) has been leading the Drought Wellbeing Service across Queensland. This program offers counselling and support to people living and working in areas impacted by drought. Through the Drought Wellbeing Service, qualified counsellors work alongside existing RFDS clinicians and attend established RFDS primary health care clinics. Counsellors are also available via telehealth and outreach sessions providing strategies that can help in tough times or an ear to listen to wellbeing concerns.
If you, a friend or loved one, would like to speak with one of the RFDS drought Wellbeing Service counsellors please call 07 3852 7544 or email: [email protected]