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Western graziers combat drought stress

Virginia Tapp, Friday June 14, 2013 - 09:09 EST
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Stock at a water trough on Gipsy Plains, near Cloncurry - ABC

A farmer who suffered severe depression says talking to others was the number one thing that helped him recover.

About a decade ago, Brian Egan was hospitalised with post traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.

He lost his farm near Dalby, and was hospitalised for a year before starting the long road to recovery.

Brian now spends his time helping others on the land through his foundation Aussie Helpers and tonight he's sharing his story with the small community of Julia Creek, in North West Queensland.

"Our main worry in times of drought is depression and we know how that can come and grab people like it grabbed me.

"The idea is to get in there and talk to people if we go on their property and talk with them face to face we can just sit round the kitchen table and have a yak with them."

Mr. Egan is well acquainted with the warning signs of mental illness.

"One of the signs of depression is you can't make decisions, if you can't sleep properly, if you can't get out of bed in the morning, and if you don't eat properly or if you put on a lot of weight or lose a lot of weight."

During times of drought, the amount of paperwork involved with claims and rebates can be overwhelming.

The Queensland Department of Agriculture is sending some of it's staff to the Richmond field day, 600 km west of Townsville, to help landholders grapple with drought assistance claims.

The Departments Climate Risk Coordinator, Lew Markey, will be answering any questions people have about the assistance process.

The Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority will also be available to help with applications for concessional loans.


© ABC 2013

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