Thursday, February 15, 2018

Aussie Farmers Are Going Nude to Raise Awareness About Depression and Suicide

The Daily Mail Australia reports:

A man has laid bare the inner turmoil of Australia's farming community in a series of daring nude photographs.

Ben Brooksby, a 24-year-old farmer from Victoria, is a passionate advocate for starting conversations about mental health -- particularly across the country's struggling rural areas.

After posing nude in his own St Helen''s Plains property, Mr. Brooksby had a stroke of genius about how to encourage his fellow farmers to start speaking openly about depression.

"The whole point is about stripping off and getting naked, which isn't easy to do, but neither is talking about your emotions and feelings," Mr. Brooksby told Daily Mail Australia.

"If I manage to save one life then I've done my job. I had a few people approach me and say it has sparked conversations and it has given people a laugh with the photos."

"I had one man come up to me and he said: 'What you're doing is so amazing,' and he was talking about what he has been through and his issues with mental illness. We talked for a good half an hour," he said. "It gives other people courage to talk about their feelings as well, and once you hear people and their stories, you can relate." 

The young agriculturalist has been gifted photographs from farmers from all corners of the country, posing nude atop horses, on trucks, covered in mud and even in the wool-shed. The pictures will be used in a calendar series that will raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and toward improving rural mental health. 

Mr. Brooksby explained the suicide and depression rate in agriculture communities is sky-high due to the solitude and unpredictable nature of farming. "It's got to do with the unpredictable outcomes with farming -- drought, money...and some people live 6-10 hours away from a city, and that's where help is," he said. "To get that real help you need to travel. And it costs money. It's really hard for those people" 

"The suicide rate in the agriculture industry is almost double any other industry -- that's a scary figure," he added. 

Ben Brooksby

"My message is to get people to talk about this issue, ensure that we talk to one another. There are other farmers in the same boat going through similar issues."

The inspired farmer will take a trip around Australia in June and July to meet up with the followers of the Naked Farmer to initiate important conversations about mental health. And the support he has received from everyone so far has been overwhelming. 

"My family and friends have been a huge support over the project. I only just recently told them about it over the past month and some are still only finding out today," he said. "I'm happy to say my grandma is my number one fan, she's always liking the photos on the page."

What a view!

Follow the Naked Farmer on Instagram HERE.

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The Naked Farmer has since attracted more than 35,000 followers