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It’s OK to seek help

“The thing I’d like people to know, especially if you’re a male, is it’s okay to seek help,” says Dave*, an ordinary outback Aussie bloke who struggled through years of depression and anxiety.

“The first step is by far the toughest step that you’ll have to take.”

“It’s not always going to be roses,” he says. “There’s going to be ups and downs, good days and bad days, but that first step is by far the hardest.”

When Dave first connected with the Outback Futures team, he was managing a remote Queensland property, but life was pretty rough. He had battled with feelings of hopelessness and despair. Previously, Dave was diagnosed with depression, and had tried taking medication. This father of four withdrew from his small rural community, becoming socially isolated.

“The first session I spent with the counsellor, I think I sat there for almost an hour with tears coming out of my eyes non-stop,” Dave shares.

“When the session was over, I went back to our accommodation, curled up in the foetal position and cried some more, and then slept for three or four hours.”

Conversations with his counsellor revealed Dave was socially isolating himself. This was largely because of the fear and shame he felt around his very low literacy level, undiagnosed learning challenges, and the associated sense of failure.

“I was facing depression, anxiety, and dyslexia,” Dave says.

Dave was avoiding social and community gatherings where others might realise he struggled with reading and writing. He had given up a long held dream of owning his own property, dreading the huge hurdles that he imagined would be part of making that happen.

Supported by the Outback Futures team, Dave improved his reading and writing with regular early morning sessions before his work day started. “Once the Outback Futures team worked out what it was that I needed, a lot of the work they did for me was over the phone,” shares Dave.

“They provided learning support for my writing, and counselling for my depression and anxiety.”

“For me that was great,” Dave says. “It let me do what I needed to do in the safety of my own home.”

Dave understands the difficulties people in rural and remote communities have accessing services. He knows first hand the barriers that often prevent them from seeking help.

“If I was to pick up those same services in town, I would have had to travel five hours one way.”

“And men are very hard to get off their property at any time.”

Dave’s courage to seek help and his determination to make changes has transformed his life.

“The Outback Futures team helped me believe in myself, and do what I thought was impossible with regards to reading and writing,” shares Dave.

“They showed love, compassion, and respect – they understood the challenges that we face out in rural communities.”

“They helped me discover that there are more good days than bad.”

This positive impact has touched more than just Dave’s life. Dave and his wife noticed one of their sons facing similar learning struggles, enabling his diagnosis with dyslexia. Dave’s son now receives learning and literacy support. This will support him into adulthood, as he develops confidence and capacity in reading and writing.

Dave’s example has enabled his kids to seek help, no matter what challenges they face. This amazing husband and wife are now advocates for mental health support in their communities.

Dave and his wife have now bought their own land and herd. Together, they are pursuing the dream Dave never thought they could achieve.

*Our client’s name has been changed to respect this family’s privacy

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