Local woman Sheena Geppert, who’s a farmer and knows first hand about the hardships of this drought, is working with the Cobar Mental Health Network to hold A Night for Our Farmers.
Sheena was recently invited to go along to one of the Mental Health Network’s meetings by her friend, Georgie Brown, who is the Royal Flying Doctor Service’s community engagement worker.
Georgie told Sheena they had previously discussed at their meetings the idea of holding an event for farmers to talk about their mental health.
However Sheena expressed concern that many older generation farmers were unlikely to turn up if they thought it was all about free handouts and talk of suicide.
Sheena then told them about the idea she had to give farmers a night off.
Her vision was that the night would include a sit down dinner and drinks, guest speakers and entertainment plus childcare and children’s activities to keep the kids busy.
“Because they have been so busy feeding with the drought, the wife never sees the husband, and the kids don’t see their father.
“The idea is that for one night the wife can sit down and enjoy a meal with her husband,” Sheena said.
She said they are hoping to get a band to provide entertainment along with a few guest speakers who’ve seen droughts before and have come out the other side.
“We are having lucky door prizes and a raffle so it’s not a handout, but a fun night.”
Georgie said the majority of landholders in Cobar haven’t received any assistance from any of the major charities who are fundraising for the drought.
“We wanted to organise an event that would bring the men and their families together to give them a few hours off farm and provide some food and entertainment plus some guest speakers,” Georgie said.
“This would be great for their wellbeing!
“This evening is very important to the mental health of our farmers and that being together with other farmers would make them feel a little more supported during this extremely tough time.”
Georgie said they also wanted a way to praise farmers for what they do and the contribution they make to Australia.
Sheena said they’ll be inviting all local landholders along with all those businesses and people who work in the agriculture sector such as contractors, shearers, the mail man, and transport drivers.
“It’s for anyone in the agriculture sector who has supported farmers in any capacity.”
The pair have set up a Go Fund Me page to help raise $20,000 to hold the event and expect there could be anywhere from 400 to 500 people attending.
Sheena said the night will have a ‘Brims and Boots’ theme so people won’t have to worry about dressing up.