In a time when mental health issues in the farming community are at an all-time high, the Wellbeing team at Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) Victoria West have developed Talk the Talk, a workshop specifically designed for rural suppliers and service providers to make it easier to talk to farmers about their mental health.

Designed by Wellbeing Counsellor Ann-Marie Byrne, and Community Liaison Jo Beard, the workshop teaches participants about awareness, observation skills and strategies, while providing easy to use techniques. As an experienced counsellor in regional and rural Victoria, Ann-Marie is sensitive to the isolated nature of the industry and how best to speak to farmers. Choosing the right environment and knowing how to start a conversation are two key factors. Knowing what you can do to support somebody and being aware of other professional providers that can help is just part of a comprehensive approach taken in Talk the Talk.

The second of these workshops is scheduled for the Cobden Recreation Reserve on Friday 11 August.

Invitations are going out to a broad cross section of the farm sector supply chain including vets, ag suppliers, medical providers, contractors, and tanker drivers. Individuals or businesses with an investment in their rural community are encouraged to participate.

For more information about upcoming workshops or to express an interest in attending/hosting this free, 3-hour workshop, please contact Jo Beard via email:

9 August 2023

Talk the Talk set for Cobden

News, Wellbeing

Supporting Farmers & Small Businesses throughout their Flood Recovery Journey. 

The government recently announced support measures for flood impacted business. The extent of the damage across the state means many communities are eligible for support. The flood grants are available now, with some grants continuing to be available for the next six months. 

Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) Victoria West’s rural and small business financial counsellors and wellbeing counsellors are on the ground working alongside farmers and small business owners impacted by the damaging and unpredictable nature of the floods.  

“We appreciate that it can be difficult during times of crisis to know when or how to reach out for help, or even if you qualify.  First and foremost, I encourage people to avoid  self-assessing their eligibility as you may miss out on valuable assistance – there are many communities impacted by floods right across Victoria.  Our financial counsellors are available to have the conversation no matter the level of impact.  We’re here to help farmers and small business owners understand their entitlements, access grants and funding as well as link them and their family in with additional supports to ease their recovery journey,” says Mr. David Stafford, RFCS Victoria West Executive Officer. 

During times of crisis, it’s common for mental health and wellbeing issues to also become a concern.  Feelings of stress, anxiety and loss can all make the rebuilding journey that much more difficult.  At RFCS Victoria West, we have a team of qualified wellbeing counsellors available to ensure anyone eligible or currently working with a financial counsellor is fully supported.   

Our counsellors live and work in and around the communities in which we service making them highly accessible, locally relevant, and available for long-term engagement.   The service is free, confidential and we can come to you; in your home, on your farm, in your small business, wherever you feel most comfortable. 

Reach out when you’re ready, on 1300 735 578

For additional information see the Official Government Media Release.

5 December 2022

Support for Farmers and Small Businesses

Bendigo-Swan Hill, Central Highlands, Events, Farm business, Great South Coast, News, Small business, Sunraysia-Millewa, Wellbeing, Wimmera-Southern Mallee

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