Putting pride aside and reaching out for help are just some of the ways we as a regional community will help combat this drought together, says Lifeline Central West’s Alex Ferguson.
Mr Ferguson said the current drought regional New South Wales is experiencing was “a national disaster of significant magnitude.”
“People need to ditch their pride and communicate their problems,” he said.
“If it’s money issues talk to your bank, if its personal talk to your GP or partner or helplines. This is a national disaster of significant magnitude.. its a long slow burn that’s what makes it tougher.”
According to the the latest data from the 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2,866 people died from intentional self-harm in Australia, with suicide among males at a rate three times greater than that for females. In 2016, suicide was the second leading cause of death among those 45-54 years of age.
Mr Ferguson said it was good to see other agencies, including the Local Land Services hold drought information workshops throughout the district with mental health and wellbeing on the agenda.
”I think people are starting to get it (the seriousness of mental health). We all know it’s tough out there and it’s certainly got to rain before anything changes,” he said.
Mr Ferguson said when people are stressed or in pain they either lash out, go into their caves or self medicate with drugs or alcohol.
“And that usage of alcohol increases, but with alcohol and recreational drugs they're depressants so its adds to the problem, it doesn’t help,” he said.
Although Mr Ferguson stressed how tough it was out there, he said there are some good green shoots starting to appear.
“Rural people are recognising the need for community and the fact that we need to work together, look over the fence and talk openly and honestly,” he said.
“People wont be silly with the information given to them in confidence, it’s all about community support.”