AS editor of the guide for four of its seven years, I am always struck by the enthusiasm of people and communities who contribute to this valued publication.
Again, we thank you.
We also thank the caring team at the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program, without whom this guide would not be possible.
Each year I am always impressed by the resilience of our farming communities as they battle against the climate odds.
This year there is a focus on drought, because that is what we are living with in 2018.
In years gone by, we have focussed on floods and bushfires.
Next year we may well be dealing with some other element that throws up its own challenges.
Most people survive these hardships. Most farmers just get on with the job at hand, knowing the weather is a transient beast and fortunes will improve.
And they look to measures to help them overcome drought when it next rears its ugly head, which it inevitably will in this country.
Of course, improved farming technology has its advantages but with it can come the need for fewer farmhands, which in turn can lead to isolation as farmers become self-sufficient.
Social media can keep people connected - albeit at arm’s length - but it’s no replacement for human interaction.
And so there will always be a need for communities to help people feel included, wanted and a part of something bigger.
The guide highlights a few communities achieving remarkable heights in fostering social connectedness.
These are just a handful of the people and “places” doing great things in NSW.
We encourage everyone to reach out to others in their community, and to keep an eye on one another because, unfortunately, some people don’t survive.
With this guide we hope to increase the odds of survival.
The guide provides vital services across NSW, serves to show readers that with the proper treatment, there can be a “happily ever after”. That life can improve. That life is, indeed, worth fighting for.
As somebody who has been to the funerals of four people who have died by suicide, two most recently during the production of this guide, I can attest it’s up to everybody to ask RU OK? when they see another person isn’t quite their normal self.
Better still, give them a copy of this Glove Box Guide to Mental Health.
- Robyn Ainsworth is features editor of The Land.