Lifeline and MAX Solutions partner to deliver rural counselling services for Western Downs Farmers

MAX Solutions will contribute $75,000 over 12 months to the Lifeline Rural Mobile Counsellor Service

June 22 2015

Lifeline Counsellor Ruchir Sodhani has hit the road to help struggling Farmers in times of crisis

MAX Solutions will contribute $75,000 over 12 months to the Lifeline Rural Mobile Counsellor Service, to provide free counselling to Western Downs Farmers and families who have been affected by the current drought.

MAX Solutions Managing Director Deborah Homewood said many rural Queensland communities had experienced a tough year of financial hardship due to drought, and may still be facing a challenging few months coming in to the dry season.

“We recognise the importance of mental health support for those living remotely, and are eager to reach out and help Farmers and their families in the Western Downs region.

“MAX Solutions are privileged to have the opportunity to build on the work Lifeline provides Farmers in the Western Downs community,” Ms. Homewood said.

The funding, made available through the MAX Foundation charitable program, will enable a qualified counsellor to provide free mobile services to Farmers in St George, Dirranbandi, Bollon, Surat and Thallon.


Lifeline Darling Downs CEO Derek Tuffield with MAX Consultant Dimity Cottle and Counsellor Ruchir Sodhani

Ms Homewood said access to qualified mental health practitioners was crucial for working Australians particularly for occupations as physically and psychologically demanding as farming.

“Farmers are characteristically self-reliant and can struggle to discuss their problems due to the stigma associated with poor mental health, as well as a lack of access to mental health services.

“The mobile service will help mentally vulnerable Farmers and their families cope in a confidential, relaxed and approachable way,”
she said.

Federal Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott said that the service was vital for Farmers and their families.

"With over 80% of the state now drought declared, the Rural Mobile Counsellor Service will provide a vital service for farming families in the Western Downs region who are battling ongoing physical, mental and financial pressures associated with drought.

"This service will ensure farmers can access important frontline mental health support without the need to travel hundreds of kilometres to their nearest metropolitan centre," Mr Scott said.

Lifeline Darling Downs & South West Queensland Ltd Chief Executive Officer Derek Tuffield said the service will be operating out of the St George office, and will enable Lifeline to regularly check on Farmers’ welfare and gain referrals to other Farmers who may not be receiving help.

“The Mobile Counsellor Service will engage Farmers on their properties, helping to meet the mental health needs of rural families who often can’t leave their farm due to the constant workload.

“Over the past 25 years we have seen that using mobile counsellors has resulted in far better outcomes for the people who seek our services. It is a costly service but is able to be provided free of charge thanks to the support provided by MAX Solutions,” Mr. Tuffield said.

The Rural Mobile Counsellor Service will commence from June 15, 2015 and service the Western Downs region of Queensland for 12 months.

If you need crisis support or suicide prevention services call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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