Many of you will have heard the name John Harper. For those that haven’t, John is a farmer from Stockinbingal (Southern NSW) who, in 2006 began running what came to be known as Mate Helping Mate events in rural communities.
John recognised that as a consequence of the continuing drought and other factors, many of his neighbours were becoming isolated or socially withdrawn.
Having experienced depression, John understood that this isolation and withdrawal placed people at risk of developing a mental illness.
John has now stepped up his campaign to help others and reach a much larger audience with the launch of a unique CD especially designed for rural men to learn about overcoming depression and other mental health issues.
“This is an honest and inspiring account of overcoming depression and I congratulate John Harper for his campaign over the last six years in increasing the awareness of mental health issues,” Ms Brown said.
“Many rural people have attended John’s Mate Helping Mate program and have been helped in some way by his brave battle with depression.
“The CD makes it easy and convenient for anyone who hasn’t been able to catch one of the Mate Helping Mate presentations to hear John’s story, so his work can now reach more people.
“It traces John’s journey, he talks candidly about his experience with depression and how it damaged his physical health, as well as his business and personal relationships, and how he managed to overcome it and help others along the way.
“That’s when I decided a CD, that could be played in a ute or tractor at a convenient time, would be a great solution for these men.”
The CD has been produced through a funding partnership between NSW DPI’s Rural Support Program, the Outback Division of GPs Brolga Program and the Rotary Club of Dubbo South.
John Harper said since overcoming depression his mission is to now raise awareness of the importance of mental wellbeing in rural areas, especially during hard times.
“For whatever reason some men were unable or reluctant to attend one of the presentations I have made in recent years and their womenfolk were telling me that they wished their husbands, sons or brothers could benefit from my story,” Mr Harper said.
“I believe my story on this CD gives people who are isolated, for whatever reason, an opportunity to realise that life can always get better.”
For a copy of the CD contact your local NSW DPI Rural Support Worker.