Digital hub helpful for drought teens
A new care package has been created for the children of drought-affected farming families, helping them to cope with their situation.
Reachout CEO Ashley de Silva explained that the digital assistance is in the form of a website offering support, advice and tips for coping. Resources include case studies, a quiz and online forums for young people and their parents.
“Reachout has been around for 20 years and was the world’s first online mental health service,” Mr de Silva explained.
“We have a long history of working with young people in terms of support, but this is the first time we have done a drought package.”
The Federal Government has enabled this initiative through additional funding for the service.
“This has allowed us to do this specifically and the website is for young people to share what is going on in their lives in a really caring space.”
While adults in farming families are at the core of the issue, Mr de Silva said that young people are also heavily impacted by drought.
“Young people are not immune to the stresses of drought,” he told Dubbo Photo News. “Worrying about their family and worrying about the farm, career, money, all kinds of grief.” Mr de Silva (pictured) said that one of the challenging components is communication between adults and their children, which is compounded by the effects of drought on daily life.
He said there are often signs when someone is suffering such as changes in behaviour and sleeping patterns.
“There are physical indicators of a problem. And communication is such a strong base. Checking in via text, talking in the car because it takes the pressure off making eye contact, are a good start.”
Mr de Silva said the response to the digital hub has been excellent.
“The feedback is always very positive. We take the time to make sure we are working with young people. We are in drought and they are not forgotten.”
To access the service, visit Reachout.com/droughtsupport Learn how to spot the signs of stress
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A lone tree stands near a water trough in a drought-effected paddock near Walgett, in this photo taken in July this year.