Rip­ple ef­fect of clos­ing ru­ral col­lege

Countryman - - OPINION | HAVE YOUR SAY - Robyn Lewis, Moora

What hap­pens when Moora Res­i­den­tial Col­lege closes, as Labour states it will?

Where do those stu­dents, cur­rent and up­com­ing, go to school?

Do they have to leave their home/farm/town/com­mu­nity and go to Perth and board away from home?

School­ing and liv­ing in the city is not al­ways the right choice for ev­ery child and can cre­ate large amounts of stress.

Even with chil­dren who are com­fort­able with board­ing, city life is still a big ad­just­ment and gen­er­ally takes time to set­tle in.

Feel­ings of stress and anx­i­ety can oc­cur in the mean­time.

What must it be like for those who re­ally don’t want to and/or aren’t ready to board in Perth, the im­pact on their health, both phys­i­cally and men­tally can be huge and have long­stand­ing im­pacts.

It can also af­fect those left be­hind, mum, dad and sib­lings have to read­just the fam­ily dy­nam­ics which can some­times al­ter for the worst.

Does the mum go to Perth, rent a house and the kids at­tend a school as a day stu­dent?

Ad­di­tional costs of rent, fuel, ex­tra car and liv­ing ex­penses will have an im­pact on the fam­ily and busi­ness bud­gets.

Sense of loss within the fam­ily struc­ture, chil­dren miss­ing dad, hus­band and wife sep­a­rated and the dif­fi­cul­ties that can come from that.

The mum hav­ing to be­come both par­ents at least from Mon­day to Fri­day.

Dad be­gin­ning to feel that he doesn’t know or be able to have a say in what hap­pens dur­ing the week with his fam­ily.

Dad look­ing af­ter him­self, work­ing a full day (and more at busy times on the farm and/or busi­ness) while also keep­ing up with those on­go­ing do­mes­tic jobs that never go away.

Try­ing to get down to Perth on week­ends to see the fam­ily, which doesn’t al­ways work. Mum and the kids can’t al­ways come home ev­ery week­end, es­pe­cially when the chil­dren are in­volved with week­end sport and ac­tiv­i­ties.

The whole struc­ture and frame­work around what con­sti­tutes a fam­ily in to­day’s so­ci­ety is frac­tured and will some­times never re­cover.

The grad­ual loss of touch with other fam­ily mem­bers and friends within the com­mu­nity.

Do the fam­i­lies have to leave their town/farm to school the kids in Perth? Dad and mum look­ing for other jobs. Costs of relocating and ad­just­ment. Loss of fam­i­lies within the com­mu­nity. Loss of busi­nesses.

Loss of schools and towns, Not only a mon­e­tary is­sue, but I feel the big­gest is a men­tal health one. In all of the sce­nar­ios above, peo­ple are im­pacted men­tally, and stress, anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion can re­sult.

What does this lead to? Larger num­bers of peo­ple re­quir­ing Med­i­cal as­sis­tance, or­gan­i­sa­tions that are al­ready un­der­staffed and un­der bud­geted for. De­pres­sion un­treated, mis­un­der­stood and un­man­aged can lead to sui­cide.

We al­ready know the rates of sui­cide ru­rally is sadly high.

It doesn’t take much to re­verse a de­ci­sion, just some pain old-fash­ioned com­mon sense.

But it does take a lot to re­cover from what will be­come one of the worst and largely im­pacted de­ci­sions made against our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties in this State if you don’t.

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