“Living in the country means we all know each other and that can be very difficult, but there are lots of positives too.”
Living away from major cities and towns can have some real benefits, but can also come with challenges. You can be impacted by fewer job and education opportunities, and the effects of living and working in isolation. Depending on where you live, there can also be harsh weather events now and then. All these factors can affect your mental health and wellbeing. So, learning the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions can help you notice them early and take the necessary action.
While people in rural and remote Australia experience mental health issues at the same rate as those in the cities, they can face challenges in accessing health care and support services. Online and telephone support services can help to close this gap by providing instant access to support. Specific support – including for farmers and farming families – is available through mental health websites.
If you are experiencing challenges with your mental health or worried about someone else who may be struggling, it is crucial to reach out to someone who can help.
Strengthening your overall mental health and wellbeing – including taking care of your health and connecting with others – is a positive thing that anyone can do, no matter where you live. Have a look through the meaningful life section on this website for some ideas.
A closer look
Getting help, when help is far away
Men in rural areas are particularly at risk
Asking for help
Rural and remote Australians are happier
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have extra challenges
Challenges faced by young people
Living in the country when you have a mental health problem is easier because it's a small place and you have that informal network – supportive, understanding neighbours or friends. But the cons are that you don't have the choices that people have in the big city. You don't have the access to mental health services. And when things go wrong, it tends to be a whole lot less private.
When I developed my eating disorder, I was living in a small town. The local mental health service only had appointments during school hours and I didn’t want to go because I didn’t want to miss school. I didn’t want to have to explain why I was late to my friends. And then someone had to drive me there – it was just all too hard.
I feel better when I have a plan. The community mental health workers gave me some numbers to ring in case of a crisis, and that makes me feel more settled. I know what to do if everything falls apart.
You might find online and phone-based mental health resources helpful. Some suggestions are below. You can find more with our Search tool.