NSW drought: Lifeline, CWA team up to help farmers

HELP AT HAND: Lifeline CEO Stephanie Robinson says practical conversations will help drought-affected farmers. Photo: FILE
HELP AT HAND: Lifeline CEO Stephanie Robinson says practical conversations will help drought-affected farmers. Photo: FILE

PRACTICAL conversations around wellbeing, domestic and family violence, financial abuse, mental health and suicide prevention are vital during a drought, Lifeline Central West chief executive officer Stephanie Robinson says.

With 100 per cent of the state now declared in drought, many primary producers are struggling with a range of issues on and off the farm.

In order to help, Lifeline Central West has teamed up with the Country Women’s Association (CWA) for a roadshow of 12 free workshops called Moving Forward Together, with one in Bathurst to be held this Wednesday.

Ms Robinson said the workshop would raise awareness, build resilience, reduce stigma and equip people to respond to pressures in a way that promotes wellbeing and safety in the long-term.

“We all have a role to play in creating a vibrant, strong community that can stay resilient during challenges and support those who are struggling, to seek help,” she said.

“This connection also means that during tough times we are all impacted and need to be more vigilant, particularly facing the current drought.”

We all have a role to play in creating a vibrant, strong community that can stay resilient during challenges and support those who are struggling, to seek help.

Lifeline Central West chief executive officer Stephanie Robinson

Ms Robinson said Lifeline’s partnership with the CWA would help people tackle the tough issues facing their community by connecting with and supporting them as they face the deepening drought crisis.

CWA NSW president Annette Turner said rural women were often the “emotional linchpin of their family” and they were instrumental in identifying potential health problems in their circles.

“These workshops will give practical help, resources and tools for communicating with family and loved ones who may be in distress and potentially at risk of suicide,” she said.

The roadshow has been funded thanks to a $41,000 grant from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation (NPCF).

NPCF chair Phil Neat said that adversity through drought could exacerbate the issues that lead to poor mental health, family violence and suicide.

“Though these social issues won’t be instantly fixed when the drought breaks, this program will equip attendees with practical skills not only for the present but also in to the future to build stronger, more resilient regional communities,” he said.

The workshops will be delivered by qualified trainers and give practical help, resources and tools for communicating with men who may be in distress and potentially at risk of suicide.

Topics will include: recognising, responding and referring to domestic violence; crisis and mental health including stress, depression, anxiety and suicide; financial abuse; building resilience and strategies for self-care.

Members of the community are asked to register for the workshop by calling 1300 798 258.

Moving Forward Together workshop dates:

  • Bathurst, September 5 at CWA Hall, 172 Russell Street, Time: 9am-1pm
  • Lithgow, September 6 at Vale Hall, 9 Mort Street. Time: 9am-1pm
  • Blayney, September 12 at The Chambers Community Centre, 41 Church Street. Time: 9am-1pm
  • Orange, September 13 at CWA Hall, Robertson park, Byng Street. Time: 9am-1pm
  • Mudgee, September 26 at CWA Rooms, 48 Market Street. Time: 1-5pm
  • Gulgong, September 27, CWA Rooms, corner Herbert and Bayly streets. Time: 9am-1pm
  • Dubbo, October 3, Western Plains Cultural Centre, 76 Wingewarra Street, Time: 1-5pm
  • Wellington, October 4, CWA Rooms, 60 Warne Street. Time: 9am-1pm 
  • Narromine, October 10, CWA Rooms, corner Nymagee Street and Third Avenue. Time: 1-5pm
  • Gilgandra, October 11, CWA Rooms, 3 Warren Street. Time: 9am-1pm
  • Cowra, October 24, St Peters Presbyterian Hall, 46 Macquarie Street. Time: 1pm-5pm
  • Parkes, October 25, Meeting rooms, 25 Dalton Street. Time: 9am-1pm