Wellbeing - supporting your mental health

The current drought impacting NSW farmers is having a significant impact on the economic prosperity of rural communities. During challenging times, it is more common for people to feel greater distress, anxiety and depression, which can impact on their relationships and businesses.

If you, or someone you know is being impacted by the drought on a personal or business level, then there are services available that can help make a positive difference.

This page summarises services that can assist you or someone you know, to seek help or develop tools and strategies to support stronger mental health and wellbeing. Click on each link below for more information.

Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP)

The RAMHP team is made up of 19 coordinators based across regional, rural and remote NSW who can provide specialist knowledge and support.  They are available to educate, encourage and link people to mental health support, where and when it is needed.  You can contact your local RAMHP Coordinator for a chat about how you are feeling and what mental health support options could be of assistance to you.

If your work brings you in contact with local farmers, producers or their families, the RAMHP team offers training to up-skill people, so you are well equipped to create links between your community and specialised services that build resilience and combat the effects of mental stress.

Visit the RAMHP website to find your nearest RAMHP Coordinator or download the Glovebox Guide to Mental Health, factsheets, podcasts, and advice on difficult conversations.

RAMHP's website also contains many self-help and downloadable resources that are for rural people to improve their mental health and get the help they need. This includes a specific page on drought support, including factsheets, podcasts, the latest research and information on help services.

Drought Support Program

Across the Hunter New England, Murrumbidgee and Western areas of NSW, Drought Support Teams are on hand to provide a free, mobile and confidential support service which is available on farm, in town or over the phone.

The teams are made up of people who have experience living and working on the land and who understand the difficulties drought can cause in people’s lives. The Drought Support Program is suitable for individuals, couples and families; whether they require short term conversations and information, or ongoing formal counselling options.

The Drought Support teams know that the drought has hit hard and that farmers are not the only people affected. That's why these services are open to anyone whose livelihood is associated with rural industry/primary production, whether that's farm workers, contractors or small business.

If drought is affecting your wellbeing then these teams can offer ongoing support with the ability to be there through difficult times in decision making, transitioning and connecting you to more specialist services if required.

To access the Drought Support Program contact:

  • Hunter New England - 0477 322 851
  • Murrumbidgee  - 0436 811 692
  • Western NSW - 0436 815 940

Rural Financial Counselling Service

Free financial counselling is available to help NSW primary producers to improve financial literacy, develop business plans and contingencies and access industry support. While the service does not provide specific financial advice, the counselling process supports your individual needs. If you are seeking, family or emotional counselling, you can access the free services of the Rural Resilience team or RAMHP team.

Domestic Violence - It can happen to anyone

Domestic violence takes many forms. It can be physical, emotional, psychological, financial, sexual or other types of abuse. It can affect anyone in the community, regardless of gender, sexual identity, race, age, culture, ethnicity, religion, disability, economic status or location.

This free 8-page booklet has information on services and resources, what to do if you experience domestic violence, and how you can help if a friend is impacted.  The National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling line is 1800 737 732 or visit 1800respect.org.au.

Mental Health Counselling and Supports

Rural communities are resilient and resourceful but the effects of the long dry spell can take its toll. See how the NSW Government is providing emergency drought support to drought affected communities with additional health and wellbeing services, targeting farmers, their families and affected communities.

If you need help, either for yourself or someone else, consider speaking to your general practitioner or contact the NSW Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511.

If you are worried about someone’s safety, please take them to your nearest hospital as soon as possible and in case of emergency call 000 immediately.

Telephone services

Phone: 1800 422 599

The Alcohol Drug Information Service is a confidential and anonymous information, counselling, advice and referral service. Available 24/7, the service provides information such as safer injecting advice, parent advice and information on detoxification.

Phone: 1300 224 636

The Beyondblue Support Service offers 24/7 confidential telephone support, counselling and referrals from trained mental health professionals. All calls and chats are one-on-one and are completely confidential.

Phone: 1800 242 636

This telephone support, information, counselling and referral service is available from 8.30am to 4.30pm weekdays. The service is staffed by experienced carer support officers and is available to carers, service providers and community members.

Phone: 02 6331 8944

Provides family therapy and child, adolescent, marriage, separation and bereavement and individual counselling. The service also runs a range of programs including: Parenting Skills; Seasons for Growth (support for children who have suffered a significant loss in their lives through death or divorce); In-service Educational and Preventative workshops (with parents, teachers and others where appropriate, on various topics including behaviour management, living with ADHD, bullying, stress management etc); and Harnessing Widsom (a self-esteem and communication program).

Legal advice - Phone: 1800 655 927

Financial counselling - Phone: 02 6884 8344

Provides free legal advice on a wide range of issues and also offers free financial counselling. The service is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm.

Phone: 1800 806 160 or 02 8382 6430

A confidential family information and support service for rural NSW providing: legal assistance; confidential personal counselling; a referral service to find information; a volunteer to meet country people in Sydney; a volunteer to give transport where appropriate; and interschool contact program linking country and city children; a friendly voice for a chat; visits for country people in hospital (on request); assistance to find short-term accommodation for country people in the city. The service operates Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 4.30pm.

Phone: 02 9235 1500

This is a free ongoing telephone or skype counselling program supporting rural communities. It is available to anyone over 18. Email (regional@capa.asn.au) or call between 9am-5pm and the CROP coordinator will set up a convenient time with an accredited counsellor.

Phone: 1800 050 321

Provides a free telephone service for people experiencing family and relationship problems. Available Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm.

Phone: 02 6881 8913

Offers a new program to help farmers who are in the middle of battling with drought. Based in Dubbo, the service covers much of the Western Region and offers male specific counselling, children's contact centres and a range of other services.

Michael Parris
Men's Service Officer
Ph: 02 6881 8913

Phone: 1800 551 800

The Kids Helpline is a 24/7 confidential support and counselling service specifically for kids aged 5 to 25 years. Kids can contact the service about a wide range of issues, from everyday issues such as family, friends or school, to more serious issues such as abuse, mental illness, drug and alcohol use, homelessness and suicide. Counselling can be provided online or over the telephone.

Phone: 13 11 14

Anyone across Australia experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide can contact Lifeline's confidential crisis support service. Trained volunteers are available 24/7 to listen and provide support and referrals.

Phone: 1300 13 11 14

Information and referral for people with mental health difficulties or friends, relatives, professionals, carers and others who look after people with mental health difficulties.

Phone: 1300 789 978

Mensline Australia is a 24/7 telephone and online support, information and referral service for men with family and relationship concerns. The service is staffed by professional counsellors, experienced in men's issues.

Phone: 1800 011 511

The Mental Health Line is a 24/7 service operating across NSW which is staffed by mental health clinicians. Anyone, including carers or family members, can call the line to be directed to the most appropriate care. The mental health professionals operating the line will assess the urgency of the call and make recommendations for follow-up treatment.

Phone: 1800 201 123

Provides stress and counselling services to assist individuals and families with the reality of the current drought.

Phone: 1300 1300 52 (NSW)

Parentline is a 24/7 confidential telephone counselling and support service for parents and carers of children. Parentline aims to nurture and support positive, caring relationships between parents, children, teenagers and other people important to the wellbeing of families.

Phone: 1300 659 467

This 24/7 service provides counselling, information and referrals to people at risk of suicide, carers of suicidal people and those bereaved by suicide. Staffed by professional counsellors with specialist skills in working with suicide-related issues, the service can provide ongoing counselling or referrals to appropriate services.

Phone: 1800 817 227

A free and confidential telephone service for women in NSW. The WIRS can help you find information that you, your family or friends may need including information on many organisations and services available to women. The service operates Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Phone: 1800 801 501 (rural), 1800 639 784 (Indigenous), 1800 674 333 (TTY)

A community legal centre specialising in women's legal issues.

Phone: 1800 737 732

1800 RESPECT provides sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling by qualified, experienced professionals. The service is available 24/7, to anyone who has experienced, or is at risk of, physical or sexual violence.

Online services

Website: www.adf.org.au

The Australian Drug Foundation is one of Australia's leading bodies dedicated to preventing alcohol and other drug problems in communities across the nation. The foundation develops and distributes free and quality assured information on alcohol, other drugs and harm prevention through a range of programs, websites and services.

Website: www.blackdoginstitute.org.au

The Black Dog Institute website aims to lead you through the logical steps in seeking help for mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, and to provide you with information and explanations of different steps along the way.

The Black Dog Institute is a world leader in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders, and provides information for everyone, including health professionals. The website has a range of fact sheets and handouts available for download.

Website: www.carersnsw.org.au

This service provides practical information for carers, as well as information to help service providers better understand the needs and experiences of carers. The Carers NSW website contains an interactive program, provides information and insight into caring roles, and includes video interviews with carers. The resource also provides tips on how to navigate the mental health system, how to look after yourself and effective communication techniques.

Website: www.counsellingonline.org.au

Counselling Online is a service where you can communicate with a professional counsellor about an alcohol or drug related concern, using text-interaction. The service is free for anyone seeking help with their own alcohol and drug use, or if you are concerned about a family member, relative or friend. Counselling Online is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across Australia. The website also provides an online tool for self-assessment, should you feel you have a problem and don't know where to start.

Website: www.friendlyfaces.info

Links you to major hospitals and health facilities including support workers, social workers and counsellors and provides information on  accommodation, parking, cheap eats, childcare and other facilities.

Website: www.kidshelp.com.au

The Kids Helpline website provides web and email counselling, in addition to their telephone support line. It is aimed at young people aged 5 to 25 years and provides an interactive space for kids to explore issues that are important to them. The site features downloadable screensavers and wallpapers, interactive games and activities, information on common concerns and problems for kids, as well as stories from kids who have experiences and overcome challenges in their lives.

Website: www.lifeline.org.au

The Lifeline website provides online crisis support chat from 8pm to midnight, 7 days per week. The website also presents information and factsheets, real stories and self-help tools. Available information covers a wide range of topics including prevention, depression, domestic and family violence and avenues for getting help.

Website: www.lifeinmindaustralia.com.au

Life in Mind is a national suicide and self-harm prevention resource. Dedicated to providing the best available resources to guide activities aimed at reducing the rate of suicide in Australia.

Website: www.parentline.org.au

Online Counselling is available to Parents, Carers and Professionals who are concerned about a child from 0-18 in New South Wales. They provide immediate professional support and strategies to help manage the tough situations families face no matter where in NSW you are located.

Website: au.reachout.com

Reachout.com is a youth focused website providing help, information and support. The website has been created in collaboration with young people and experts, to ensure than the information is evidence based and relevant.

RAMHP Coordinators work across all areas of regional, rural and remote NSW. RAMHP Coordinators have localised knowledge of services and supports in your area and can connect people to the most suitable care.

RAMHP Coordinators educate workplaces and community members on how to recognise someone experiencing a mental health concern and how to provide support, and also work with communities to raise awareness about staying mentally healthy and how to find help when it’s needed.

As RAMHP Coordinators are embedded in their communities, they are uniquely placed to work in partnership with local agencies to facilitate better mental health outcomes.  Visit the RAMHP website to find your nearest RAMHP Coordinator.

Website: www.sane.org

SANE Australia is a national charity working for a better life for people affected by mental illness – through campaigning, education and research. SANE's website provides factsheets, publications and videos regarding mental illness, treatments and support, for people living with a mental illness, carers, professionals and students. The organisation also provides an online helpline for more specific information and referral to support agencies.

Website: www.salvos.org.au

The Salvation Army offers a wide range of humanitarian programs and services without discrimination. The website lists contact details for every Salvation Army social service and program in NSW, QLD and the ACT.

Website: www.youthbeyondblue.com

Youthbeyondblue focuses on young people aged 12 to 25 years. Youthbeyondblue programs and projects centre on early intervention and prevention of high prevalence mental health problems for young people, as well as raising community awareness. The website provides an opportunity for people to share their stories and gain support. A wide range of resources for young people, parents and families are also available online, and can be sent in hard copy where requested.

Website: www.beyondblue.org.au

beyondblue offers online counselling, support and referrals from 4pm to 10pm, 7 days a week, as well as a directory of e-mental health services and therapies, which can be found on their website.This Australian organisation provides information about depression to consumers, carers and health professionals.

One of the key roles of beyondblue is to produce and refer people to accurate, up-to-date, and easy to read information on depression, anxiety and related disorders. This includes information relating to depression, anxiety disorders, post-natal depression and bipolar disorder. They also provide information regarding diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and information specific to young people, men, family, friends and chronic physical illness.

Website: headspace.org.au

Headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds.

The service is designed to make it easy as possible for a young person and their family to get the help they need for problems affecting their wellbeing. This covers four core areas: mental health, physical health, work and study support and alcohol and other drug services.

Website: www.mindhealthconnect.org.au

The mindhealthconnect website aims to provide unbiased, trusted and up to date information, online programs and resources, to empower and enable people to make informed choices regarding their mental health concerns.

Other resources

Domestic Violence - It can happen to anyone

A free 8-page booklet (PDF, 1179.29 KB) with information on services and resources, what to do if you're a victim, and how you can help a friend impacted by domestic violence.

You can call the National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling line on 1800 737 732 or 1800respect.org.au.

Case studies

Rural Support Program