Julie Andreazza, the 2018 NSW Farmer of the Year, has been sharing her own thoughts on the drought, mental health and wellbeing as a way to help others.
Mrs Andreazza, from Griffith, has shared her experiences as part of a program called Tell It Well, which was launched by the Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network in July to help ensure people know they are not alone in their mental health journey.
She said she was pleased to be able to tell her story about living through the millennial drought in an effort to support others going through similar experiences and was on hand at the Henty Machinery Field Days last week to talk to other rural residents.
"The drought is difficult. It's impacting us in the way of not knowing what crops to plant, knowing when to buy water. Water is just such a huge issue. It's the main issue. It controls everything," Mrs Andreazza said.
"We were at the point of 'do we sell, or do we stay'. We had a kitchen table discussion with our kids, and they didn't want to leave the farm. So, we made a conscious decision to stay.
"I think we need to be able to ask for help and to have people around you that are keeping an eye on you and for you to keep an eye out for others.
"Communication is the single most important thing. It's OK to talk about it. Use your voice, especially if you've got a positive story coming out the other side of this black hole we've all been in. I live to tell the story and I want everyone else to be the same."
Melissa Neal, the Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network chief executive officer, said sharing stories can be a powerful source of change for someone living with mental health issues.
"Everyone has a story to share, in fact we already share stories every single day about our lives and experiences, with our family, friends and work colleagues. Stories connect us. They help build relationships and start conversations. It's through stories we share passions, triumphs, hardships, meaning and purpose.
"These first stories aim to inspire people living with the impacts of drought by offering practical tips to support their mental health and wellbeing, and foster long-term resilience.
"We hope these stories will help start conversations and give people living across the Murrumbidgee who may be experiencing challenges with their mental health and wellbeing as a result of these drier times hope and encourage help seeking behaviours.
"I would like to thank Julie for her courage in sharing her personal story, insights and knowledge. Telling our stories will support people across our region to be well, or lead them onto a well life," she said.
To read these stories visit www.mphn.org.au/tellitwell or follow the Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network on Facebook or Twitter.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, call the Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or triple zero. Or access the Head to Health website at www.headtohealth.org.au.