Ladies come to­gether

Rais­ing aware­ness for ru­ral men­tal health

Central and North Rural Weekly - - RODEO - GEORDI OFFORD Geordi.offord@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

THERE’S no doubt that ru­ral men and women are as tough as they come.

Although they may wear smiles on their faces, if you scratch be­low the sur­face they can be feel­ing the ex­act op­po­site of happy – es­pe­cially dur­ing a drought.

The re­cent Ru­ral Women Unite Ladies Lun­cheon high­lighted the im­por­tance of men­tal health aware­ness in ru­ral ar­eas.

One of the speak­ers at the event was Dervla Lough­nane from Vir­tual Psy­chol­ogy who flew to Rock­hamp­ton from the Gold Coast for the event.

Dur­ing her talk, she pro­vided the women with some help­ful tools to help

them­selves or oth­ers with men­tal health.

“Peo­ple ser­vice their cars, but they don’t think to check on them­selves,” she said.

“There’s an acro­nym I want you all to re­mem­ber, SAMMEFA.

“It stands for sleep, ap­petite, mood, mo­ti­va­tion, en­ergy, fo­cus and con­cen­tra­tion and an­he­do­nia.

“Ask your­self ‘Am I get­ting enough sleep?’, ‘How has my ap­petite been? Am I eat­ing more or less than usual?’, ‘What has my mood been like?’, ‘Have I had mo­ti­va­tion?’, ‘Do I have less en­ergy than I usu­ally do?’, ‘Am I get­ting dis­tracted?’ and fi­nally ‘Do I still en­joy the things I love to do?’.”

She said their text line al­lowed peo­ple who are strug­gling to in­stantly talk to a psy­chol­o­gist.

“These days nearly ev­ery­one has ac­cess to a mo­bile phone and be­ing in ru­ral ar­eas it is hard to just go to ap­point­ments,” she said.

“The con­ver­sa­tion can start how­ever you want, you can say ‘help’ or even just ask about the weather.

“Anti-de­pres­sant med­i­ca­tion doesn’t work for ev­ery­one, so it’s im­por­tant to reach out for the help when you need it.”

Help is also avail­able through Life­line on 13 11 14.

NEW TOOLS: Tracey Hick, Tanya Wight, Kylie Maguire and Deb­bie Haigh at­tend the lun­cheon which gave them new re­sources for deal­ing with men­tal health. More so­cial pho­tos on Page 16. PHO­TOS: GEORDI OFFORD

Dervla Lough­nane from Vir­tual Psy­chol­ogy spoke at the lun­cheon about the com­pany’s text line.

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