Lifeline offers practical tool kit to help people cope with the drought

HELP: Aidan Keough, Stephanie Robinson and Graham Gentles launch the drought tool kit at the Orange Ex-Services' Club on Friday. Photo: DAVID FITZSIMONS 0907dflifeline1
HELP: Aidan Keough, Stephanie Robinson and Graham Gentles launch the drought tool kit at the Orange Ex-Services' Club on Friday. Photo: DAVID FITZSIMONS 0907dflifeline1

Lifeline has seen a rise in crisis phone calls from regional communities due to the drought.

Stephanie Robinson, Lifeline Central West CEO, said the calls were not just from farmers.

“It has certainly been steadily increasing, calls that are farm and drought-related,” she said.

Ms Robinson said they had received calls from doctors, business people and others who were affected and struggling to cope with the drought.

“The flow on impacts of the prolonged drought is affecting everyone, financially socially and emotionally,” she said.

To help people cope with the drought, the Lifeline Drought Tool Kit, a hands-on guide with practical advice, has been prepared.

The eight-page guide features 10 main points including how to access financial counselling, deal with isolation and has advice on stress management and family and mental health.

It will be distributed in the Western Magazine, which appears in the Central Western Daily on Thursdays and The Land newspaper.

The initial 70,000 copies will reach about 200,000 people.

Ms Robinson said a further run of the tool kit will be placed in other regional newspapers around NSW and will reach a total audience of about 400,000 people.

“The drought affects everyone differently, it might be the impact it has on your business which causes financial strain, it might be that your marriage breaks down, we hear these stories every day,” she said.

“This is a really practical resource that will help people know where to go for help, that there is support out there.

“But what it really does is, it talks about in rural communities we are so connected.

“We need to look out for one another and support one another.”

The release of the guide will be followed up with a series of Tool Kit Talks starting on Monday September 24 at the Orange Ex-Services’ Club which would show people how to use the guide.

Ex-Services’ Club president/acting CEO Graham Gentles said the club was happy to support the project.

“[We] realise that this drought’s impacts are far and wide, everywhere from the farm gate and in agricultural industries through to everyday families and small businesses in towns and cities,” Mr Gentles said.

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