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CHAT ON COPING: Counsellor Simon Santosha spoke at Farrer on struggles faced by children during drought. Photo:Geoff O’Neill 070416GOA03WITH challenging conditions facing many farmers across the region, counsellor and social worker Simon Santosha has been making his way to struggling communities to talk on the importance of mental wellbeing in times of drought.
Nanjing Night Net

Mr Santosha dropped in at Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School this month for a free talk with parents of teenage boys on maintaining healthy relationships in times of hardship.

“Often we hear a lot about drought relief and we hear a lot about mental health, but we don’t hear about the impact of the long dryness and drought and the impact on families and how the family can fracture,” Mr Santosha said.

Mr Santosha specialises in men’s and family counselling and was in the region to deliverfree talks in support of the Australian government’s drought relief initiative.

The Gold Coast counsellor said young boys from farming families have their identity tied up with their properties.

“So when prolonged periods of dryness hit, the farm starts to lose its viability.

“They identify themselves as farmers, they identify themselves as going to take over the family farm.

“When that gets placed at risk, what happens if there isn’t a farm to go back to?” he said.

Mr Santosha said it was important to get conversations around intergenerational relationships in hard times started.

“We don’t see much about the impact on young people and how their mental health is impacted if the family farm isn’t doing well economically,” he said.

Challenge Community Services therapeutic service manager Kylie Boyraz said it was a great opportunity to have Mr Santosha offer his expertise to landholders during tough times.

“Presentations such as Mr Santosha’s will assist communities to gain a better understanding of mental health and how to maintain positive relationships through periods of drought,” she said.

The counsellor said he will return to Farrer in May to work specifically with boys in years 11 and 12, to help equip them with better coping skills to deal with any stresses that may be happening at home.

On his return trip to the region, Mr Santosha will also run sessions for farming families from Mullaley, Pallamallawa and Armidale and surrounding areas.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.