New podcast encourages farmers and rural folk to improve mental health and wellbeing in the bush

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As rural communities face erratic environmental conditions, social isolation and economic hardship, a new podcast hopes to promote mental wellbeing and resilience in the bush. Mate Helping Mate features the stories of farmers, families and rural folk in remote and regional Australia, and their strategies to promote resilience. It’s hosted by wheat and sheep farmer John Harper, who has battled with “the black dog” himself and hopes to build confidence in encouraging others to reach out for help.

Over six episodes, John speaks with rural people and qualified experts about the needs, services and strategies that are unique to improving mental wellbeing in remote communities. Recorded on location across the outback, it features the distinct experiences and sounds of the bush.

People in remote communities face a range of location-specific challenges, including the stress of financial dependence on the land, climate change and social isolation, which may exacerbate depression and anxiety – alongside increased barriers to accessing health care.

The aim of Mate Helping Mate is to reduce the perceived stigma associated with seeking help, promote strategies that support mental resilience, and increase presentation to mental health services. It also features unconventional and modern methods for seeking support, such as Skype-based therapy and phone apps.

Mate Helping Mate is supported by Gotcha4Life, a not-for-profit foundation started by Triple M’s Gus Worland, and the Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network (MPHN) through it’s “Empowering our Communities” grant. It was produced and recorded by Room3, a production company for not-for-profits and social enterprise.

The Mate Helping Mate podcast launches on Wednesday, February 19th 2020 and is a must-listen for everybody, especially those outside of the ‘big smoke’.

Listen to the podcast here https://www.matehelpingmate.org.au/

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