PROUD: Q&A; audience member Pauline Crow.
PROUD: Q&A; audience member Pauline Crow.

Q&A show in Rocky puts mental health issues in spotlight

PAULINE Crow knows it's a tough life on the land.

And on Monday night she got the chance to bring the issue to national attention when she asked Q&A's panel about resilience in the bush.

It was one of many raw and emotional stories that were discussed in front of an audience of 900 at the Pilbeam Theatre, as the spotlight was shone on mental health in Rockhampton as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Panellist Jennifer Bowers agreed with Pauline when it came to talking about mental health in the bush.

"I'd have to say, yes, it is really tough out there and particularly men aren't used to declaring their problems," she said.

"They're not used to recognising them even and so I suppose the real issue is ... that we really need to give them hope in some way; hope that they can find some way around their succession planning, hope that they can actually look after their finances to the point that they can find another strategy."

Audience member Jennifer Smith also got the opportunity to ask the panel a serious question.

"I come from a family who have experienced a broad range of mental heath issues and many friends too and one of the greatest problems they face is stigma," she said.

"If there was just one thing you could recommend to family members who are trying to counter the stigma that their loved ones (and sometimes they themselves) experience, what would that be and what would it take to help overcome that stigma?"

Panel member Louise Byrne addressed Jennifer's question, claiming support in the form of hope was important.

"I would say try not to be fearful and I know that that's a big call, because you're afraid for the person that you love ... but I would say hold onto hope," she said.

Pauline said she was impressed with the panel's response and with the debate in general.

"There was a great deal of compassion on the panel and in the audience," she said. "I think Rockhampton is standing a little taller and prouder at the moment."



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