A DARTMOOR farmer has urged people experiencing hardship on the land to speak up in a bid to reduce the associated mental health impacts.
Noel Bull has actively campaigned to turn the tide of mental health in rural communities, having been connected to 15 people who have suicided.
Triggering a fundraising campaign for beyondblue in 2015, Mr Bull remains vocal on the issue and has shared concerns in how people approach day-to-day life.
Mr Bull said it was a “different” world compared to a couple of decades ago, stating mental health was now at the forefront of issues which need addressing.
“External factors can have significant impact on a person’s mental health, especially financial pressure,” Mr Bull said.
“For some reason people seem to look at mental health issues as some sort of disease instead of something like breaking an arm.
“There are pressures in all parts of life and I worry on how much we can handle.”
Mr Bull said the rising prices of essential living items have created unexpected stress for buyers.
“Five years ago you could purchase land for around $2500 an acre but now people are paying somewhere between $4000 and $7000,” he said.
“This creates tension for the young person or people who bought it.
“In three years time when there is a slump we will be going through it all again and I am not sure on how we can stop it.”
The 2018 Tenison Woods College Shining Light Award recipient and 2017 Glenelg Shire Citizen of the Year Australia Day Award joint winner said he has seen the effect mental health can have if it is not managed.
“I would love to see people buying less houses and cars and just enjoying life,” he said.
“I think people nowadays seem to want everything and sometimes it can get out-of-hand.
“I always question whether we do put too much pressure on ourselves.”
People make mistakes according to Mr Bull who said it is all part of living.
“Even though you may mess things up, sometimes it is not your fault and you cannot do anything about it,” he said.
“You have to deal with it and move on.
“People need to be more aware of the pressures some people are under before scrutinising.”
Mr Bull recommended people who were “struggling” should speak to a professional.
“We need to make sure people are working in a positive environment whether it be in the office or out on the land,” he said.
“I think there is huge pressure in the dairy industry at the moment.
“Even in Casterton people are doing it much worse than what we are here in the South East and it continues to worsen as you travel north.”
Mr Bull previously raised over $10,000 for beyondblue through the collaborative 2015 Farming in Your Spare Time calendar, which featured rural images and agricultural advice.
Mr Bull said he would like to continue raising awareness and funds for the “vital” topic.
“I would love to promote another fundraising project but maybe think about making it more community-oriented,” he said.
“If anyone out there is under pressure, I would tell them to look over their options.
“There is a life out there for everyone which is worth living.”