Counselling for our farmers
Prioritising well-being after floods
LIFELINE representatives are out and about in Monto, visiting farmers affected by the past month’s flooding.
The deluge that hit the region three weeks ago cost many farmers their entire crop, destroying livelihoods and putting their financial security at risk.
As part of the region’s disaster relief efforts, members of Lifeline have been dispatched to the area for a month to provide counselling for those in need and provide advice on pathways to financial restitution.
Lifeline Community Recovery co-ordinator Paul Thomas came up from Brisbane on Saturday to help drum up awareness of the group at the Monto Sheep Races.
“Since the flooding we’ve finished up in Miriam Vale and we’ll be in Monto for another two weeks,” Mr Thomas said.
“We’ll have three counsellors doing a rotation for the next two weeks, coming out at different times to visit the properties.”
Community Recovery was involved in the region during the previous two major flood events and a Queensland Disaster Management grant has enabled the group to deploy for the latest event.
Community Recovery member Russell Mills described the work they did with farmers as “psychological first aid”.
“When we’re talking to a grazier, we’re checking to see how they were affected, how they’re coping and if they have resources around them,” Mr Mills said.
With so much work going on and the sheer amount of damage caused, there is only so much help any one organisation can provide.
Community Recovery’s role in the process is to provide counselling and advice on who to get in touch with to help.
Mr Mills said he had seen cases of people burnt out after losing crops to weather events on multiple occasions.
“There’s a lot of stress in the community because many people were ready to harvest right before the rain hit,” he said.
“It’s a cumulative effect, because some people have had this happen several times in a row.”
When the remaining two weeks of consultation are finished, people will still be able to receive help through telephone counselling and follow-up visits.
Those wanting to get in touch with the organisation during the next two weeks can seek a referral by phoning North Burnett Regional Council on 1300 696 272.
Those in need of confidential counselling can phone the Lifeline Community Recovery Country Callback line on 1800 543 354.
HERE TO HELP: Lifeline members are in Monto providing counselling and advice to farmers hit by the flood.