Coun­selling for our farm­ers

Pri­ori­tis­ing well-be­ing af­ter floods

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Jack Lawrie jack.lawrie@cnbtimes.com.au

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.

PHOTO: JACK LAWRIE

HERE TO HELP: Life­line mem­bers are in Monto pro­vid­ing coun­selling and ad­vice to farm­ers hit by the flood.

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