Australian cricketing legend Brad Hogg has urged farmers to ‘get off Twitter’ during tough times and instead reach out and get connected with their mates by talking over the phone.
Brad hails from a WA wheatbelt family and is the National Ambassador for Grain Producers Australia’s Farmer Mates Mental Health program that’s backed by a strong team of partners: Lifeline WA, Rural Aid and Nufarm.
In a new episode of the GPA Farms Advice Podcast, with host Jack Creswell, Brad discusses the importance of staying connected during challenging times such as the recent floods which have disrupted this year’s grains harvest in many farming communities.
“Sometimes being too connected just puts us in a bad spot – so get off Twitter – take Twitter off your phone,” he said.
“What you should be doing is, while you’re on the tractor – because you’re spending more time on your tractor than the days I spent on the farm – if you want to connect with people, ring them up. Talk physically to them, because the voice is better than just texting, because you don’t get the context – you don’t get that connection.
“It’s better (to talk) face to face, and so as we become more time poor, get on the phone and chat physically.”
Brad said, at the end of the day, it’s important to stay connected and stay on top of the things that connect people.
“I’ve got surfing mates, I’ve got cricket mates, I’ve got business mates or associates and there are different topics that we talk about,” he said.
“When I ring them up, or they ring me up, in doing so, it makes me feel as though I’m home. And on their side – it makes them feel that I’m still part of their lives.
“You go though tough times with floods that ruin crops – or there may be a fire as well in other parts of the country – but if you dwell on it, you don’t talk to other people about it. You don’t find the answers. You just dwell on the negative and all you do is just dig yourself a bigger hole. All you can see is what’s going to go wrong – you see the worst part of it.
“But if you start talking to people, all of a sudden you get a little bit creative, and you start to find the answers, as to where you can go forward, and you can get your operation back on top.”
Brad said staying connected meant you were also talking with others about situations and scenarios which can open ideas on ways to help you with moving forward.
“It’s always good to talk about (problems) with other people because they might come to you with ideas,” he said.
“While you’re talking, you’re getting things off your chest, and it just lightens the load a little bit, but your mind also starts to clear up.
“All of a sudden you might think ‘Oh right, I’ve got that little bit of financial leeway or cushion over here, that’s going to get me through’ rather than thinking you haven’t, because you’re so negative all of the time and you just forget about that cushion.”
Lifeline offers 24/7 crisis support. Call 13 11 14 or go to lifeline.org.au