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Building resilience in drought affected communities

November 21, 2019

Supporting communities to do what they do best

Embracing the strength of rural communities has been at the heart of initiatives funded by our PHN in the past year to support farmers, their families, neighbours and local businesses as they deal with the effects of drought.

Queensland is facing one of the most severe droughts in history. At the end of 2018, our PHN was one of six selected across Australia to receive funding under the Department of Health’s Empowering our Communities (EoC) initiative to respond and support these communities build resilience.

Within our region eight local government areas (LGAs) are declared as drought affected. These areas include Goondiwindi, Southern Downs, Western Downs, Lockyer Valley, Somerset, Toowoomba, Cherbourg and South Burnett.

Under the initiative, over 25 community-led initiatives were funded to connect and encourage people to look out for themselves and their fellow community members.

One of the initiatives was from the Pikedale community, where gatherings are held to give people the opportunity to come together and support each other.

Group spokesperson, John Pratt, said the gatherings are typically held in local woolsheds, machinery sheds and packing sheds, ensuring that the conversation is brought directly to farmers.

“There is an added extra financial and mental stress on families and these gatherings have given everyone something to look forward to and are vital,”John said.

“At these events, everyone has a chance to share their ideas and grievances which is very helpful and leave producers with a feeling of not being alone.”

In addition to the community-led initiatives, funding has also been provided to roll-out the Lifeline Darling Downs and

South West QLD Community Connections Program. The program recognises that stigma can be a deterrent for people living in rural communities to seek assistance, and often local, trusted advocates can provide a safe gateway to care.

Through Community Connections, community members are trained to recognise and support people who may be struggling which helps to build resilience in communities for years to come.

Through these initiatives, our PHN has been able to work with community leaders, farmers and their families, and local community organisations to enable better mental health, suicide prevention, and social and emotional wellbeing support.

Find out more about our funded community-led initiatives here

This is one of the many stories in our 2018/19 Annual Report that highlight the initiatives and good work happening in our region - Read more stories here