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Farmers in crisis: Depression and anxiety rife among Aussie farmers

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Recent Australian study shows that 30% of farmers' mental health has declined over the last several years, prompting requests for government help and industry-wide cooperation to build farmer-to-farmer support networks nationwide. The National Farmer Wellbeing Report, commissioned by Norco and the National Farmers' Federation, found that 45% of Australian farmers had felt depressed and 64% have felt anxious. About half of Australian farmers (45%) had thought about self-harm or suicide, and 30% have tried. Weather (47%), financial stress (36%), and inflation and cost concerns (35%). Natural disasters have cost 88% of Australian farmers $1.4 million in the last five years. The research found that 27% of farmers said loneliness and lack of mental health resources have had the most effect on their mental health.

The survey quantifies the emotional toll of natural catastrophes, with 54% of farmers naming the financial load as the most emotionally draining, followed by animals and stock loss (39%), and physical rebuild and recovery (37%). One in five Australian farmers (20%) felt defeated and wanted to give it up after an event, and of the 40% who have considered leaving the profession, close to a quarter identify natural catastrophes as the major reason. 76% of Australian farmers feel the public undervalues their job, adding to the problem.

Research shows a national health issue. The report recommends industry-wide cooperation to build farmer-to-farmer support networks nationwide and greater government funding to solve these difficulties and better help Australian farmers in the future. The research advises strengthening mental health services, lowering financial stress, and supporting rural and distant people.

If you or anyone you know needs help:

Click here to view the report.

Published: 11 April 2023