THE need to communicate and seek help will be the focus of a rural mental health forum at Tamworth on Thursday, October 9.
Aboriginal mental health co-ordinator Joe Miller and senior mental health prevention officer Alan Avery have pulled together a panel of experts, from psychologists to police officers, for the question and answer-style event.
Among the panel members are former magistrate Mal McPherson, police officer Paul Johnston, mental health court liaison officer Lesley Douglas, Aboriginal legal aid solicitor Joanne Patten, senior clinical psychologist Quentin Dignam, ambulance officer Ray Tait and a senior psychiatrist.
About 50 people have already registered, including local residents, health workers and farmers.
"We would love to see the farming community turn up because all service providers will be there and farmers can talk to people and find out what services are available in the area," Mr Miller said.
"People needing help need to talk to other people and this gives them the opportunity to do that.
"We want to know what they need to address their issues."
The panel will address myths around mental health and the issues that stop people seeking help or treatment.
"Often farmers don't realise they can get direct access to services," Dr Avery said.
"In many cases the people working for service providers are country people who know the issues affecting farmers."
Mr Miller said questions would be asked on behalf of people who had pre-registered and taken from those in the audience on the night.
He said having a range of service providers at the event also helped answer questions from participants.
"The services are free and confidential and as mental health providers, if we can't help, we'll refer farmers to people who can," Mr Miller said.
"Communication is the key to staying healthy you need to talk to somebody and tell them what's going on."
The rural mental health forum is at Coledale Community Centre from 6pm to 9pm tomorrow.