The 2020 annual issue of The Country Web is themed ‘Think well, feel well‘. It includes ideas for staying well and tips for overcoming life’s challenges.
As part of our 2020 Annual issue we have a special feature on the Young Farmer Business program, an article on helping children after the bushfires, and our ‘Men’s Matters’ feature discusses how to avoid a relationship breakdown.
You can download the entire issue online from the RWN website or we will be sharing weekly stories on the blog.
First up is our guest Editorial from Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women, the Honourable Bronnie Taylor MLC.
Editorial: Bronnie Taylor MLC
As NSW Minister for Mental Health and Women, women’s health and wellbeing is something I am extremely passionate about.
Rural and regional NSW has faced incredibly difficult times recently, with drought, bushfire and now the COVID-19 pandemic. While many of us are coping well, some are struggling with the ever-changing emotional, physical and financial realities of life-as-we-know-it being turned on its head.
You, or people you know, might be feeling anxious, sad or afraid. People who experience mental illness know these feelings all too well. They struggle with them every day and they find the courage to live the best life they can, regardless of the cards they were dealt. What we all have to do now is find the same courage.
I have found that so many women, especially those in rural and regional areas, have amazing reserves of courage. Women are often the rallying forces within their communities, and one of the privileges of my role is to meet these inspiring women and hear their stories.
Unfortunately, and it is in danger of becoming a cliché, women often put themselves last. We are all familiar with the ‘juggle’, where we come out at the bottom of the pile, stressed, tired and sometimes sick. As a mother, daughter, wife, friend and politician, I am guilty of it as much as the next woman.
Whilst we cannot always slow down or step away from our responsibilities, what we can do as women is to care for ourselves more. When it comes to our mental health, I want to remind women that help is out there, no matter what their concern may be.
There are more options than ever to access help via telehealth, so getting help is as easy as picking up the phone. In April this year, I announced that an additional 60 000 calls will be able to be answered by the NSW Mental Health Line. We have also invested in Lifeline, which is such a great resource. It is a familiar brand, and anyone can call them at any time, and open up to a listening ear at the other end of the line.
I was very proud to extend the six Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) coordinators until 2021. There are now 20 RAMHP coordinators across NSW. They are a great option if you want to be linked to care and they can direct you to the right service. There are also now 27 Farm Gate counsellors and Drought-Peer Support Workers delivering counselling across rural local health districts—meaning help is available locally where people need it.
In July this year, we also provided funding towards mental health training for more than 5000 community pharmacists. Pharmacies are often the first place that people go to for health issues and I am pleased that pharmacists will be given the knowledge and tools to recognise when someone is in distress and appropriately
I’d like to finish by raising the point that good mental health is more than just the absence of mental illness. I’d like to share with you some tips for building good mental health from Healthdirect. I try to use these tools in my daily life and I encourage you to give them a go. Let’s look after each other.
Having good relationships with other people is the most important factor contributing to a sense of wellbeing. This can include family, friends, workmates and others in the community.
Exercise has been shown to increase wellbeing as well as reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. A healthy diet, avoiding excess alcohol or drugs, getting a good night’s sleep, and regular check-ups with the doctor can all help too.
Count your blessings. Try keeping a gratitude journal and write down three positive things each day.
Identify and use your strengths
We all have different strengths and weaknesses, but finding out what you are really good at and using those talents can increase wellbeing.
Flow is the state of being so highly involved in an enjoyable activity that you lose track of time. Flow can happen during work, hobbies, or sports.
Give to others
Making a contribution to the community, however small, increases social wellbeing.
Spirituality or religion
For some people, being involved in spiritual or religious practices can improve wellbeing, help in coping with stress, and reduce symptoms of mental illness.
Remember if you are struggling to cope with everyday life, reach out for help—you don’t have to do it alone.
Want more? Download the entire issue online from the RWN website or we will be sharing weekly stories on the blog.
Contributions and advertising bookings for our 2021 annual issue of The Country Web themed ‘Women, Business and Farming’ are due 30 April 2021 for publication in August 2021.
We want to hear from rural women who are involved in, or who have a connection to farming, and who are running their own business or passion project.
This issue is about highlighting and celebrating women farmers and fishers and the stories of passion, innovation, research and technology that make our farming communities great.
Please forward contributions to:
The Country Web
Locked Bag 21
Orange NSW 2800