The silent issue beneath the surface

Published 1st May 2024. Written by Maddison O’Brien

In the tranquil landscapes of rural New South Wales, where agriculture, businesses and industrial enterprises thrive, a pressing issue often lurks beneath the surface: men’s mental health. Despite the perception of resilience associated with rural living, the reality is that mental health concerns can affect anyone, anywhere. Recognising this, Watershed Landcare has partnered with the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) to host “Mind Matters,” a casual event designed to shed light on mental health challenges and provide crucial support right in the heart of our region. 

Statistics underscore the urgency of the issue: in rural NSW, men are disproportionately affected by mental health issues, with rates of depression and anxiety soaring above the national average. Moreover, access to mental health services in remote areas is still limited, worsening the challenges faced by those seeking support. 

Watershed Landcare’s vision is ‘Healthy Land, Healthy Communities’, and mental health is foundational when it comes to personal well-being. Communities are built on the shoulders of individuals, and taking care of yourself also means taking care of those around you. When you’re in a good place in your mind you can give more to others, you can show up for your friends and family. That’s why events like Mind Matters are more than just workshops; they are opportunities to come together, share a yarn, and learn how to navigate life’s rough patches with resilience. 

Mind Matters offers a safe space where men can learn and share experiences without fear of judgment. The workshops cover essential topics, including recognising signs of mental distress, practical self-care strategies, and connecting with local support networks.  

According to recent studies, the suicide rate among farmers in Australia is significantly higher than the national average, with factors such as financial stress, isolation, and the emotional burden of managing family farms contributing to this alarming trend. Additionally, research shows that fathers, especially those in rural settings, often face unique challenges in balancing work, family responsibilities, and their own mental well-being, underscoring the need for targeted support and resources tailored to their circumstances. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, you can call the 24-hour Beyond Blue hotline on 1300 22 4636. 

Being proactive about your mental health is a marker of strength and resilience. Just like when you eat well or get some exercise, tending to your mind is a crucial step in achieving holistic health and feeling good! Join us on June 15th at Mudgee Railway Station for Mind Matters—an opportunity to take some time for yourself, share stories, and check in with your headspace. RSVP now and take the first step towards reclaiming control over your mental health narrative. Go to