Help lighten burden of drought

Chinchilla News - - NEWS - Kate McCor­mack Kate.McCor­mack@chin­

Open­ing up con­ver­sa­tion line in our dri­est days

AF­TER spend­ing 22 years of her life in Chin­chilla, you could say Noelle Nevin has be­come rather at­tached to the com­mu­nity, through the good times and the dry.

To­day is an­nual R U OK? Day, a na­tional day of ac­tion ded­i­cated to re­mind­ing ev­ery­one that ev­ery day is the day to ask, “Are you OK?” and sup­port those strug­gling with life’s ups and downs.

Ms Nevin, an oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist and men­tal health worker, said on­go­ing drought and prop­erty hard­ships could make it dif­fi­cult for re­gional peo­ple to open up ini­tially be­cause they might be com­ing to terms with an over­whelm­ing sense of fail­ure but she wanted to en­cour­age the Western Downs com­mu­nity to use R U OK? Day as an op­por­tu­nity to touch base with friends, fam­ily and neigh­bours to see how they were cop­ing with their bat­tles.

“The un­for­tu­nate thing about on­go­ing drought is it af­fects small com­mu­ni­ties like Chin­chilla sev­eral-fold, farm­ers are un­der pres­sure, lo­cal shop­keep­ers and busi­nesses feel the pinch and that, in turn, can af­fect lo­cal fam­i­lies and their day-to-day lives,” she said.

Ms Nevin said cre­at­ing the right en­vi­ron­ment to open the com­mu­ni­ca­tion lines was ex­tremely im­por­tant.

“If you feel like a col­league or fam­ily mem­ber has be­come dis­tant or might be go­ing through some­thing, ask them to come and have a chat some­where quiet and pri­vate, in­vite them for a cup of tea in the lunch room or the lounge room,” she said.

“No-one is go­ing to feel com­fort­able open­ing up at their desk or com­puter.”

Ms Nevin also rec­om­mended peo­ple reach­ing out to such sup­port lines as Life­line or Be­yond Blue if they were feel­ing like things were be­com­ing too much to shoul­der on their own but didn’t feel com­fort­able shar­ing the burden with a friend.

“Prob­lems al­ways seem worse at nights for some rea­son.

“I have spo­ken to a lot of peo­ple who have called a help line in the wee hours and it’s helped talk them back from the edge.

“But it’s al­ways a com­fort to lighten your bur­dens with some­one face-to-face and it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber ev­ery­one is en­ti­tled to 10 free men­tal health ap­point­ments which you can ar­range through your GP.”


REACH­ING OUT: Men­tal health worker Noelle Nevin says R U OK Day pro­vides re­gional res­i­dents with a good op­por­tu­nity to check on neigh­bours, rel­a­tives and friends who have been battling through the pro­longed drought pe­riod.

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