LIFESTYLE

The new mental health campaign for farmers says ‘Don’t Keep It Under Your Hat’

Now this is a conversation starter.

Sometimes it’s difficult to express what’s on our mind or ask for support. That is why starting conversations is so important…

Farmers and rural communities across Australia have come on hard times in recent years, from fires and floods to volatile market conditions, which has affected both business performance and mental wellbeing. 

Because of this, the mental health support charity ‘This Is A Conversation Starter’ (TIACS), supported by the Macdoch Foundation, has created a new campaign, “Don’t Keep It Under Your Hat.”

This campaign aims to start conversations and remind people that professional support is available and just a text message away. The Co-CEO of TIACS Jason Banks explains that:

“Our message to farmers, and those who live and work in rural communities, is simple. Mental health support is available, you don’t need to keep it under your hat. TIACS is here, so don’t try and tough it out alone, we are only a text message away.”

this-is-a-conversation-starter
(Credit: Supplied)

Don’t Keep It Under Your Hat

TIACS new campaign focuses on the everyday ups and downs in mental wellbeing that a farmer may struggle to express or talk about. Banks explains that the reason behind the theme of a hat is that:

“Most farmers get up everyday and put on a hat before beginning their workday, therefore our campaign takes this practical everyday item and uses it to remind people not to ignore or mask what’s going on, underneath the hat, inside their head.”

Because it can sometimes be hard to find the words to express what’s on our mind, it can be even more difficult to ask for support. 

“After initial contact with TIACS one of our experienced and fully qualified counsellors will guide conversations either via text or on the phone to offer support and help lighten the load.”

With over 18,000 clients already supported through TIACS’ counselling services, this new campaign aims to further spread awareness and increase accessibility for mental health support for blue collar workers. The Macdoch Foundation Chairman, Alasdair Macleod says, 

“TIACS is an organisation that feels approachable and relatable for farmers, so I am pleased that we can boost their capacity to support them in a more targeted way through the Don’t Keep It Under Your Hat campaign which is specifically designed to resonate with farmers.”

With such challenging times ahead for those in the agriculture industry, TIACS hopes to reach the rural and regional cohort to lend support as much as possible.

farmer-mental-health-support
(Credit: Supplied)

What is ‘This Is A Conversation Starter’?

Launched in June 2020, This Is A Conversation Starter is a mental health support charity dedicated to lending a hand to those who need support during tough times.

TIACS provides free counselling to tradies, truckies, farmers, rural communities and blue collar workers around Australia that tend to brush away big feelings and ‘keep it under their hat’. 

TIACS runs as a not-for-profit and has a free phone and text counselling service for those who need a good chat to help with their mental wellbeing.

Founders Ed Ross and Dan Allen originally launched social enterprise workwear company TradeMutt, to start raising awareness on mental health struggles for tradies. This then opened up opportunities to bring more awareness and accessibility to mental wellbeing for all blue collar workers, including farmers and rural communities.

After seeing a great need “remove the barriers that prevented hard working Australians from accessing professional mental health counselling”, they founded This Is A Conversation Starter. 

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Founders Ed and Dan in their TradeMutt workshirts. (Credit: Supplied)

How you can seek support

You can reach This Is A Conversation Starter on their website, https://www.tiacs.org/.

Their free phone and text counselling service is available from Monday to Friday, 8am to 10pm on 0488 846 988. TIACS provides up to 8 free sessions via call or text with the same counsellor. 

Keep in mind that TIACS is not a crisis helpline service, and instead provides counselling that aims to support your mental wellbeing for the long term. 

How you can get involved

If you’re looking to get involved, there are many ways to lend a hand, including fundraising or making a direct donation.

For raising awareness, TIACS recommends you wear the TradeMutt workshirts with their ‘This Is A Conversation Starter’ slogan on the collar. 

For more information, head to the Get Involved page on the TIACS website.

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