Rural life at best can be a rollercoaster. Unseasonal or extreme weather events and external market pressures, isolation and lack of services are all things the rural community has to deal with on top of all the other things the wider urban population needs to cope with.
It’s harder to access health and professional services the more rural you are which makes it tough to ask for help during tough times.
When it comes to depression or anxiety, country folk often think that they can manage it themselves , or a worried that people will think it’s a display of weakness to seek out help when they are feeling down, hopeless and alone.
Being Isolated also breeds the perception that help is too far away, will be too expensive and that’s if you have the first clue where to start looking for help.
When things get tough, it’s better to seek help than to let things fester under the surface.
Changes to your physical health, unusual weight loss or gain, feeling low, down or angry and irritable for more than a couple of weeks can all be signals that you might need some help.
This help can be as simple as talking to a family member, friend or even a GP about how you aren’t feeling the best.
Luckily in Tasmania we have team dedicated to helping rural Tasmania through tough times.
The service is called Rural Alive and Well and can be found at
They are available to talk to you 24/7 on 1300 4357 6283
They offer a friendly ear in difficult times and provide information, support and strategies to help get through the rough patches.
RAW are a great bunch of people and the service is free and confidential.
If you’re not quite ready to seek external help, reach out to a family member, mate or co-worker.
The first step is to start letting someone you trust know that you are in a bit of strife. Unloading and getting things off your chest and knowing that other people are aware that you aren’t ok can go a long way to lightening the load and improving how you are feeling.
Just let them know about your feelings, or how you’re angry or irritated the whole time for no reason or you just can’t be bothered with the things you used to enjoy.
If you are not comfortable with family or mates and all your co-workers can’t be trusted then :
Talk to your GP
A GP is a great source of information and will be trained in recognising whether you have depression or anxiety. If you don’t have a regular GP, go and find one. You can talk to them about how you are feeling and they will assess the type and scale of your illness and create a management plan.
They will most likely have various health professionals on hand or in their network that can help you get on track.
A Gp is an ideal person to help you create an action plan to combat and manage your depression or anxiety.
An action plan would typically contain things like writing down what you would like to do to make positive changes, exercise, sleep improvement, stress management and maybe working with a psychologist who can help you tackle negative thinking and how to deal with relationships
Making a safety plan:
If you are having suicidal thoughts or feeling, then working with someone you trust on a suicide safety plan is essential.
The plan will have a number of steps that you need to follow whenever you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts. The plan will get you to a safe place.
Beyond Blue’s Beyond Now will help you create a safety plan.
For some people who are unable to improve their depression with other treatment plans, then medication is available. If your depression or anxiety is severe and not improving, then seek the help of a doctor who will be able to assist in prescribing medication where appropriate to manage your illness.
Alcohol & Drugs
Drinking Alcohol or taking drugs to try and make the anxiety or depression go away is not a good idea. These will almost always make the symptoms of depression and anxiety much worse over the long term.
If you are anywhere from a being a bit down to feeling desperate and hopeless please reach out to RAW or someone you know and just have a chat about how you are feeling. It’s an important first step.