A two-day mental health first aid course will be held in Tintinara this month to teach the community how to support families and farmers doing it tough.

Participants will learn how to help people with, or in the early stages of, mental illness and how to respond to them in a crisis.

The course, which is free, is part of a drought assistance program currently being rolled out in regional South Australia by Centacare Catholic Family Services.

The program aims to assist people to manage a healthy work/life balance and the pressures changing climatic conditions place on relationships, finance, health, wellbeing and parenting.

“Drought and unpredictable weather can have a significant impact on farmers’ physical and mental health, as well as the wellbeing of their families, businesses and the communities they help to sustain,’’ said Jessica Justice, Centacare Drought Assistance Practitioner.

“We want to teach people how to respond if a friend asks them for help because providing appropriate support early on is critical to preventing crisis in the future.

“When every thought, decision and action is based around the weather, it is easy for people to lose perspective and be overwhelmed by uncertainty.’’

The Mental Health First Aid Course will be held at Tintinara Soldiers Memorial Hall, Becker Terrace, Tintinara, from March 22-23.

Courses will follow in Balhannah, Meningie, Tailem Bend, Mount Barker and Birdwood.

The support is being funded by the Australian Government’s Drought Assistance Program.

Other initiatives include:

·         Face-to-face counselling for families, individuals and couples

·         Home visits and outreach services

·         Linking and referrals to other services, in particular programs provided by the Australian Government to support farming families and farm businesses in hardship

For more information and to register for the course, please phone Centacare’s Murray Bridge office 08 8215 6320.