Mental health experts try to reach drought stricken farmers

THE USE of covert mental health experts in drought-stricken parts of the state is being tested by the Queensland Government as it tries to reach those facing severe anguish and isolation.

Mental Health Queensland is trialling a campaign of working alongside rural community members so they can recognise when their friends, family or peers are carrying a heavy mental burden.

The hope is that these carers hidden in plain site could pull the most vulnerable away from clinical mental illness or even suicide.

MHQ Commissioner Lesley van Schoubroeck said it would mean that someone could know enough to say, "Joe is not doing too well" and know what to do next.

She said for farmers facing the brutality of a drought, their entire way of life was at risk.

"If you're at risk of losing your home, your business or your way of life, it's not good for your mental health.

"They won't come up to a person who they don't know.

"If you can skill some people in the community who know them, they are more likely to come forward and seek help."

For those needing help, contact beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or visit

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