How hailstorms, drought are impacting Lockyer farmers

IF DROUGHT and fire weren't enough, hail storms and COVID social restrictions are putting more pressure on Lockyer Valley farmers, a mental health advocate has said.

Mary O'Brien, who founded men's health organisation Are you Bogged Mate, said rural communities that relied on gathering and events had been further impacted by coronavirus.

At the Lockyer Valley drought forum yesterday, Ms O'Brien said mental health tolls had become worse in the region.

"It is probably getting a little bit worse, but some of the factors like drought, flood and hail storms are certainly impacting on rural mental health more so than COVID," she said.

"With COVID, one of the impacts I'm seeing is disconnect - not being able to have those gathering - because community is so important to rural people"

 

Lockyer Valley mayor Tanya Milligan discusses the implications of mental health at the Drought Forum held in Gatton. Photo: Ali Kuchel
Lockyer Valley mayor Tanya Milligan discusses the implications of mental health at the Drought Forum held in Gatton. Photo: Ali Kuchel

 

Yesterday's drought forum was the brainchild of the Lockyer Valley Regional Council, who after hosting a drought workshop last year, opted for the forum-style event.

Ms O'Brien who came as the guest speaker, said she was looking forward to working with farmers in the Lockyer Valley.

"Hopefully I will at least start some conversations and put some thought sin their heads to assess where they are at," she said.

The forum was made possible by Drought Community Funding through the federal government.

Mayor Tanya Milligan said at the end of the day, information was a powerful tool for the region's agricultural sector.

"We get numerous phone message all the time through our office where people are continually asking (about drought support)," Cr Milligan said.

 

Are You Bogged Mate founder Mary O'Brien at the Lockyer Valley Drought Forum, where she was the guest speaker. Photo: Ali Kuchel
Are You Bogged Mate founder Mary O'Brien at the Lockyer Valley Drought Forum, where she was the guest speaker. Photo: Ali Kuchel

 

"It tells me people need to get out and connect and they are hungry for information and they're looking for the answers."

Having continuously described the Lockyer residents as "resilient", Cr Milligan said the latest impacts of hailstorms, coronavirus and fires would start to take their toll.

"We have a resilient community, but you have to wonder how much more can we take," she said.

More than 130 people attended the event.

Anyone who missed out is able to speak with council's drought support officer on 1300 005 872 or access information via the council's website here.


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