In the thick of a drought, the community of Clermont, in central Queensland, has twice been bolstered by the mental health message from a mob from Melbourne.

Story Ken Eastwood  Photos by Jessica Edwards

You don’t really expect to hear 9 and 10-year-old kids use words like ‘mindfulness’, ‘empathy’ and ‘gratitude’. But children in Clermont, in central Queensland, now have these words entrenched in their vocabulary, as a result of a visit earlier this year by The Resilience Project.

Local pharmacist Grant Oswald helped organise to have the Melbourne outfit visit Clermont for the second time in six months because he was aware of the needs in the drought-struck community, and wanted more students, parents and others to gain tools to develop mental health resilience. Combined sessions were organised with four schools, as well as distance education students and the community.

With a range of presentations suitable to different groups, The Resilience Project reached 75,000 people last year with its mental health message, including 550 schools across the country, as well as more than 300 organisations, including elite sporting groups, and community and corporate groups. Founder Hugh van Cuylenburg says he has a particular passion for speaking to people in the bush. “There’s something very special about the programs we run in the rural parts of the country,” he says.“I feel like every time I speak to a community group in the country they are very keen to find the steps they can take to improve mental health. Everyone knows someone or is close to someone who is struggling. And with suicide in rural areas being so much higher, they know how serious this subject is.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #119

Outback Magazine: June/July 2018