Lifeline Drought Tool Kit being released

HELP: Aidan Keough and Stephanie Robinson from Lifeline Central West and Orange Ex-Services’ Club president/acting CEO Graham Gentles launch the drought tool kit at the club last Friday. Photo: DAVID FITZSIMONS 0907dflifeline1
HELP: Aidan Keough and Stephanie Robinson from Lifeline Central West and Orange Ex-Services’ Club president/acting CEO Graham Gentles launch the drought tool kit at the club last Friday. Photo: DAVID FITZSIMONS 0907dflifeline1

LIFELINE has seen a rise in crisis phone calls from regional communities due to the drought.

Lifeline Central West CEO Stephanie Robinson said the calls were not just from farmers.

“It has certainly been steadily increasing - calls that are farm and drought-related,” she said.

Ms Robinson said they had received calls from doctors, business people and others who were affected and struggling to cope with the drought.

“The flow-on impacts of the prolonged drought are affecting everyone - financially, socially and emotionally,” she said.

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To help people cope with the drought, the Lifeline Drought Tool Kit, a hands-on guide with practical advice, has been prepared.

The eight-page guide features 10 main points including how to access financial counselling and deal with isolation and has advice on stress management and family and mental health.

It will be distributed in the Western Magazine, which appears in the Western Advocate each Thursday, and The Land newspaper this week.

The initial 70,000 copies will reach about 200,000 people.

Orange Ex-Services’ Club is supporting the project and Charles Sturt University has also given financial support.

Ms Robinson said a further run of the tool kit will be placed in other regional newspapers around NSW and will reach a total audience of about 400,000 people.

“The drought affects everyone differently. It might be the impact it has on your business which causes financial strain, it might be that your marriage breaks down; we hear these stories every day,” she said.

“This is a really practical resource that will help people know where to go for help.”

The release of the guide will be followed up with a series of Tool Kit Talks starting on Monday, September 24 at the Orange Ex-Services’ Club which will show people how to use the guide.

Further Tool Kit Talks will be held throughout the Central West, supported by clubs and ClubsNSW.

“We need an army of people, mobilised and prepared, willing and able to access those in our communities who are either unaware they need help or unwilling to proactively seek help,” Ms Robinson said. 

“Footpath conversations and paddock consultations might be just what we need to connect those in need with the help available.”