“Exploring the challenges and needs of farming families during drought in Australia Jessica Beneke”

Farming families have been experiencing drought throughout the history of Australia. Major government reports have identified more research is required into their health and well-being. This literature review explores the significant factors that impact farming families. This preliminary study aims to create open conversations and communications about how families function and if support from counsellors is needed from the family’s perspective.

This study is a mixed method of qualitative and quantitative research conducted via an online survey where participants were voluntary and remained anonymous. Descriptive and thematic analysis was used to evaluate the data by identifying codes and themes. Results conclude that all levels of family members are undertaking dual roles causing enormous pressures and distress. Inadequate funding and access to appropriate support services such as counselling was limited.

Financial barriers were of the highest contributing factor followed by mental health which included apprehension to seek assistance for grief and loss as well as family relationships. Issues of mental health are debilitating and destroying families which are a real concern, however counselling services are struggling to meet the demand. Limitations of this study were extensive due to the nature of the farming industry. These included exhaustion, time poor and mental health concerns. Further research recommends an increase in funding research activities such as personal face to face interviews, focus groups collaborating with other support services, or initiating educational workshops for counsellors.

The full article is available on request – admin@dalyritchie.com.au