Farmer’s recovery from depression which led to two suicide attempts shows cost of drought at family level

Country psychologists are in no doubt there is an unequivocal link ­between the drought and increases in suicide, suicidal thoughts, depression and anxiety.

It usually happens on Sundays or late at night, according to psychologist Dervla Loughnane, who helped Mr Germon mend himself emotionally. She said those times are when farmers have the most time to think.

It’s why her company, Virtual Psychologists, teamed up with Aussie Helpers, Australia’s largest rural ­charity, to launch a helpline for troubled farmers.

The service, staffed by seven psychologists and two social workers, takes two or three calls a day from people with nowhere else to turn.

Many use text messages instead of calling because they find it too hard to say what they think out loud.

“A farmer this week said he was sending a text because he didn’t want us to hear him cry,” Ms Loughnane said.

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