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Mental Health First Aid Training for agricultural community initiative starts with collaboration from Bass Coast Shire Council

Bass Coast Council addresses farmers' mental health training for agricultural support networks. Alarming stats drive initiative to equip communities for mental health resilience.

By news@gippsland - 4th September 2023 - Back to News

Bass Coast Shire Council are running mental health first aid training for members of our agricultural community as well as people and organisations who have regular contact with farmers. Council encourages organisations, businesses and networks that directly service/support or who are in touch with our agricultural communities to participate.

Mental Health First Aid Training for Agricultural Community and Partners aim to strengthening mental health resilience in Bass Coast farming community

Mental Health First Aid Training for Agricultural Community and Partners aim to strengthening mental health resilience in Bass Coast farming community

Farming community mental health

These may be businesses such as financial services providers (accountants, banks, insurance agents), vets, stock agents, agriculture supply businesses, health care providers as well as community organisations. Sadly, close to one third (30%) of Australian farmers reported a decline in mental health over the past few years.

The National Farmer Wellbeing Report commissioned by Norco - Australia's oldest and largest 100% farmer owned dairy co-operative - in partnership with the National Farmers' Federation, reported that in recent years, nearly half of Australian farmers (45%) have felt depressed, with almost two thirds (64%) experiencing anxiety. For one in seven (14%), it's a frequent experience. Even more devastating, close to half of Australian farmers (45%) have had thoughts of self-harm or suicide, while close to a third (30%) have attempted self-harm or suicide.

Farming mental health support

Cr Michael Whelan said, "We acknowledge the unique challenges faced by rural landowners when it comes to farming and agri-business. Providing mental health resilience and capacity within the farming community will help to destigmatize the challenges that our farmers face."

"This program is helping us create community champions to support resilience and mental health in farming communities. We really want to get those who have regular contact with farmers to be equipped with the skills to help them when times are tough," Cr Michael Whelan said.

Mental health two-day course

This accredited Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training will be run over two days and costs only $20. MHFA training offers practical first aid skills and gives confidence to help anyone experiencing mental health issues. You'll learn how to approach someone who's struggling, ask the right questions and help them access professional help.

Mental Health First Aid Course - Two-day course

  • Dates - Monday and Tuesday, 25 and 26 September
  • Time - 9am - 4pm lunch included
  • Cost - $20 (valued at $300)
  • Place - Wonthaggi Civic Centre Council Chambers
  • Facilitator - Veronique Hamilton, Registered Mental Health Nurse of Exploring Minds, Mental Health Education

Included in registration will be a MHFA hard copy manual, refreshments, and lunch. For more information and to book your spot - Eventbrite website at Mental Health First Aid Course - Agricultural Community page.

Building resilience and wellbeing

This course is one component of a larger program of works the council is delivering which is funded by the Department of Health. The broader program is focused on building resilience and wellbeing of the farming community across Bass Coast. It includes three core elements that aim to complement each other:

  • Small Agribusiness and Farming Diversity and Resilience Program currently underway with 20 participants
  • Mental Health First Aid course tailored to farming communities
  • Program in partnership with Food & Fibre Gippsland to better support existing health and agribusiness support networks

We encourage the community to share this invitation amongst your networks and support team and let us change these statistics. Further information can be obtained through

Pictures from Agriculture Victoria Facebook page.


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