Laughter the best medicine

29 Jun, 2006 07:00 PM

WHEATBELT Men's Health coordinator Julien Krieg was ecstatic to hear about the success of the York drought breakers' breakfast.

Wheatbelt Men's Health was one of the many groups that supported the community driven event and was genuinely concerned with generating healthy interaction among regional communities.

Mr Krieg said he had received an overwhelming response from other farmers who had heard about the York breakfast.

Farmers at Dalwallinu who now eager to host a similar function over the next few weeks.

The importance of Men's Health's involvement was heightened after the unfortunate suicide of a farmer in a neighbouring community.

Locals said that while the young farmer's death may not have been directly related to the dry start to winter, it only served to highlight the importance of a strong community and the fact that problems could be solved by using less drastic and more painless resolutions.

Mr Krieg said the key to solving all problems started with sharing the problem with members of the surrounding community.

"Our group is all about promoting holistic health for men," he said.

"Blokes go to ground in situations like this dry start and try and deal with the problems all on their own, thinking that it's a natural reaction.

"They start to think they are the only poor bugger struggling with the problem, but in reality they're not alone.

"What we're trying to do is change that sort of thinking.

"What we're saying to men is don't try and do it all on your own, break free from those traditionally negative beliefs and behaviours.

"We want the message to get out that everyone, no matter who you are - be it a farmer, banker, truck dealer, farmer's daughter or local service station attendant - we all share the problem together.

"Real help is about the whole community sharing the problem."

Mr Krieg said the role of Wheatbelt Men's Health was to help build resilience in communities by providing resources that helped build collective thinking.

He said Wheatbelt Men's Health provided access to resources that achieve that goal.

"What people tend to find more often that not, when they talk about issues bothering them, is that they are no where near as alone as they imagine themselves to be," he said.

"While the problems don't necessarily disappear just by talking about them, it is the first step on the road to recovery.

"When we talk, we find out that the problems we have are shared by others."

Mr Krieg said community support and awareness was more important at this time because farmers were already under pressure from the stress of putting in a crop.

He said there was always stress associated with putting in a crop, however, the difference between stress and distress came from farmers feeling frustrated that things hadn't gone their way despite having done all they could to control the situation.

"The best advice we can give is: Don't take your problems out on other people and go into your cave. Don't talk about depression, because we will get through it as we have done before," he said.

Mr Krieg has also previously promoted the value of farmers taking holidays, using it as a "shock absorber".

He believes all farmers need to take a break from the stress of farming to rejuvenate their spirits.

Mr Krieg said the support group's funding process made it highly accessible to the community and involved a simple application procedure.

However, funding would not be approved for events that included alcohol.

Anyone interested in applying could contact the centre on 9690 2277.



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