The Royal Flying Doctor Service has gained increased funds to support farmers mental health

ANNOUNCEMENT: RFDSSE CEO Greg Smith. Photo: TAYLOR DODGE.
ANNOUNCEMENT: RFDSSE CEO Greg Smith. Photo: TAYLOR DODGE.

Royal Flying Doctor Service South Eastern Section (RFDSSE) will be better placed to help drought-stricken farmers after the NSW government gave it $750,000 for mental health support programs.

The funding, announced in Dubbo on Wednesday, will enhance and expand the RFDS Peer Ambassador program with a focus on mental health early intervention and prevention.

The program is a partnership with Lifeline Broken Hill for people from the bush who may want to start a conversation to learn more about mental health services and programs on offer to them.

Mental Health Minister Health Bronnie Taylor said one of the hardest things for people who are struggling with mental health to do is to put their hands up and say they require help.

"We know that we need to do more and that's what this (the funding) is about," Ms Taylor said.

"RFDS acknowledged there was an issue, and what is so exciting about this program is it comes from local communities and is about finding local solutions."

RFDSSE CEO Greg Smith said the opportunity would allow the RFDS to be able to go into the communities, "literally into individual farms", and to have in-depth conversations about the program to find out in-depth and essential knowledge through people who have personally gone through hardships themselves.

"It's about enabling people on the land to give a hand to others in need," Mr Smith said.

"It's vital to get the conversation started, and being able to speak to people who have a personal understanding of what someone may be going through when it comes to financial stress due to the drought or other hardships is also really important.

"This (the enhancements) also means people will be able to access the program out-of-hours, which is often a problem, people from the bush being able to get access to services.

"It also will enable people on the land to give a hand to others in need.

"This program is very much a tailored solution to people who want to be able to have those important conversations and understand what is out there in terms of mental health solutions."

For more information visit the NSW RFDS website at https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/nswact/our-services/. Those in need of support can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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