The resilience of those who ride the rollercoaster ride of life in regional Queensland never ceases to amaze me.
Whether it’s learning how to survive a crippling drought or picking up the pieces after a devastating flood, one thing’s for sure: our rural communities are made of strong stuff.
Not only do they bounce back from extreme weather events that take a catastrophic toll on their livelihoods, but they do so with a tenacious smile.
Or so it seems.
For when it comes to mental illness, it’s important to remember that just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.
All too often, rural Australians adhere to a ‘toughen up’ culture where it’s not always easy to share their problems.
When things go wrong they hide behind a veil of normality, while internally they are sinking deeper into anxiety and depression - often made worse by those who can’t see that they’re suffering.
To complicate matters, mental illnesses tend to ebb and flow in severity — some days, weeks, and months go really well, and then during others it’s difficult to work, socialise, and function - confusing those who can’t “see” why one day is good and another a challenge.
As society moves towards reducing the stigma of invisible illnesses, R U OK? Day (September 8) has an important role to play.
This year, the national day of action has developed a Mateship Manual, designed to help those in rural and remote areas support their loved ones.
The guide is free to access and includes information, tips and ideas to help you know when and how to have an R U OK? conversation.
AgForce would like to remind everyone that every day is a day to check in with your friends, family and colleagues.
Often it’s the bravest looking people who are hurting the most.
But by talking and sharing our own stories we can allow people to better understand.
For support at any time of day or night, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.