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Outback conditions taking toll on rural mental health

By Chrissy Arthur, Thursday May 9, 2013 - 09:27 EST

A western Queensland GP says he is starting to see the impacts of drought and low cattle prices on people's mental health.

Longreach doctor David Walker says there needs to be a campaign to encourage people with anxiety and depression to seek help early.

He says there also needs to be more studies on mental health in rural areas.

"This is just the start of it and I am just starting to see the effects on people's mental state," he said.

"The state of the industry and the climate and the drought are certainly really hanging over people like a dark cloud.

"By trying to raise awareness and trying to get everyone to have their eyes open, I hope that that will mean people are more likely to seek help."

He says people also need to know what to look for in others.

"It's about ... everyone keeping an eye on each other - I think ... often it is through contact with business associates or your family - they are the ones who will be in a better position to see how you are travelling," he said.

"I really try to encourage people to keep an eye out on everyone.

"If you think that one of your mates is struggling, then really there is no harm in asking them."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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