Four things to keep in mind for peace of mind

Keeping alive and well on the farm doesn’t just mean avoiding physical injury in what can be a dangerous work place. In fact, given the stresses and strains of every day farm life, looking after your mental health can be just as important.

Taking the time to understand the factors that often contribute toward depression and mental health problems on farms means that you will be able to keep an eye out for yourself, your family, your employees and your mates and spot the signs of someone struggling. In everyone, detecting these issues early is the key.

Here are four of the big problems facing farmers in the workplace that can sometimes lead to depression and mental health trouble:

  1. Money
    Struggling with financial pressure can be a big issue on Australian farms. Having difficulty finding money for bills or maintenance, and the fluctuating price of certain commodities can take its toll on farmers trying to maintain a viable business.
  2. Weather
    The weather, being entirely beyond our control, can have a heavy impact on a farm’s profitability from year to year. Severe drought, resulting in lack of commercial crop or loss of livestock can add pressure to what is already a high-pressure occupation.
  3. Family
    Most people we talk to tell us that raising a family on a farm is a hugely rewarding experience, but that’s not to say that it’s without its issues. Family conflicts, lack of time to spend with the family and worry over succession planning can throw up some tough problems for farmers.
  4. Time
    Farmers are, by and large, extremely time-poor. While many enjoy the challenge, for some, the demands of the job can lead to an enormous sense of pressure and worry. Concerns around time can sometimes lead to farmers feeling unable to complete tasks properly and safely – which can cause even further problems.

If you think you, an employee or a mate is suffering from depression or other mental health issues, there is help available. Check out our list of just some of the resources available to you.

To hear from a farmer who has battled with and overcome depression, watch Steve’s story.