Queensland’s Farmer to Lifeline Farmer program is celebrating a new 1800 number and an additional farmer to continue supporting farmers in distress.
Originally, the program included one farmer, Ross Blanch, using his personal mobile.
Between April 2022 and June 2023, 1891 calls were answered helping 308 people.
With funding support from Woolworths and the Mazda Foundation, the program has grown to include another farmer at the end of the phone, allowing the team to speak to more people.
Speaking in Bundaberg, farmer and newly accredited Lifeline Crisis Supporter Narelle Clem is keenly aware of what it’s like living on the land.
“I grew up on a dairy farm in the Gympie district and our family experienced the highs and lows of farming life,” Narelle says.
Narelle completed a counselling degree in 2021 after her remedial massage clients said they wanted to talk to her rather than the counsellors she was referring them to.
Becoming a Lifeline Crisis Supporter was a natural next step for her.
“I just really enjoy helping people,” she says.
“When I met Ross, he suggested I look into the program and immediately I knew this was a way I could make a difference.
“There is a significant amount of ongoing training through Lifeline which is so important to help the callers the best way you can.
“For me, farming and being on the land is what I know. I know the good and bad times and want to make sure farmers in distress know there’s always someone to listen,” Narelle says.
The service can be contacted on 1800 936 229.