Rais­ing the aware­ness of men­tal health

It is time to look out for our men and women on land

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE | FENCE POST - Erica Murree erica.murree@cnbtimes.com.au

IT’S ONLY in its in­fancy but Karen Betts would like to is­sue the chal­lenge to the North Bur­nett com­mu­ni­ties to be­come in­volved in rais­ing the aware­ness of de­pres­sion and sui­cide by knit­ting a “blue” farmer.

The Mt Perry res­i­dent got goose­bumps when she read the story about a Tas­ma­nian woman Gri­etje Van Ran­den of Delo­raine who knit­ted a big blue farmer from re­cy­cled blue bal­ing twine.

Mrs Betts said her part­ner’s fam­ily had strug­gled with de­pres­sion and sui­cide over four gen­er­a­tions.

“We all need to look out for each other,” she said.

“The farmer is the back­bone of our coun­try and has been since day dot.

“They are the salt of the earth.”

Mrs Betts said in her line of work she sees a lot of de­pres­sion

“Farm­ers are stoic, they don’t ask for help,” she said.

“We have to re­mem­ber here in the North Bur­nett we live in a ru­ral set­ting. “Iso­la­tion is a big prob­lem “Some farm­ers can go weeks with­out see­ing some­one.”

Coun­cil­lor John Bowen has also jumped on the band­wagon and is tak­ing the idea to the next coun­cil meeting.

The idea is to have col­lec­tion points to gather up re­cy­cled bal­ing twine from farms in all of the North Bur­nett towns.

Mrs Betts said when we have that cov­ered we can or­gan­ise our knit­ters in our towns.

“We are only lim­ited by your imag­i­na­tion in what we knit,” she said.

“Why stop at do­ing a farmer?

“Why not a whole fam­ily sit­ting un­der a tree sharing a cuppa.

“Or the woman could be wear­ing a pink shirt for breast can­cer.”

Mrs Betts said the re­gion could even have a com­pe­ti­tion at the an­nual shows.

She said what Gri­etje Van Ran­den found when her group’s hands were busy knit­ting the women opened up about life’s stresses.

“They spoke about things they had never shared with any­one,” she said.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

CRE­ATE A FARMER: North Bur­nett res­i­dents are be­ing en­cour­aged to take up the chal­lenge of cre­at­ing a farmer out of re­cy­cled bal­ing twine.

PHOTO: ERICA MURREE

Mt Perry's Karen Betts.

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