Having a beer or two after a hard day’s work is part of Australia’s culture. There’s nothing more refreshing after a hard day’s work farming than to relax and unwind to a drink or two. However, when one or two drinks turns into binge drinking it’s important to recognise the link between alcohol and depression.
Self-medicating depression with alcohol might mask the symptoms and stress of depression but will cause serious long-term damage.
Farmer’s often experience problems and stresses in the workplace that others can’t understand. These stresses include financial pressures, extreme weather’s impact on our livelihoods, family problems and lack of time. When these pressures get too much we can be tempted to turn to alcohol to temporarily help us manage or forget about them. This may be a sign you need help. Our advice and support page can give you more information of the signs and symptoms of depression.
Signs or symptoms that could indicate you have a problem with alcohol:
- drinking more than 14 drinks per week or more than four drinks per sessions
- signs or symptoms of depression
- preoccupation with drinking
- lack of interest in family and friends
- unable to control urges to drink
- violent or erratic behaviour
As farmers living and working in remote locations, we might feel barriers to seeking help. Shame or embarrassment, lack of time, lack of transport, isolation and a tendency to ignore personal problems and self-medicate are all barriers we might feel which can be overcome with help. Take time and steps to address the stress factors in your life and talk to family, friends and medical professionals about how you are feeling.
If you think you could be suffering from depressions or notice changes in your alcohol consumption you can:
- talk to your family and friends and tell them how you are feeling
- speak to your doctor
- look for information and support online
- complete Beyond Blue’s depression checklist
If you feel suicidal, call for help immediately. Speak to your doctor, friends or family, or one of the 24 hour helplines listed:
- Beyond Blue 24 hour help line: 1300 22 4636
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
Organisations that can help
- Mental health line 1800 011 511
- Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
- Domestic Violence Line 1800 656 463
- MensLine Australia 1300 789 978
- Beyond Blue 24 hour help line 1300 22 4636
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- NSW Rural Mental Health Support Line 1800 201 123