Change The Picture: Redefining Farmer Mental Health


11th Sept - 15th Oct 2023

Google 'Farmer Mental Health Images' and this is what you'll find...

Farmer Mental Health

You'll need to scroll past 30 images of men until you eventually find an image of a farming couple, and then an image of a female farmer...

Farming is about more than just men.

Farming is about men, women, relationships, families.

According to ABARES, women now make up 32% of agricultural workers.

AgriFutures estimates this figure to be likely higher, as many women are not adequately recognised for their contribution.

Women also contribute an invisible amount of work making farms run behind the scenes.

Yet, women still largely remain invisible in farmer mental health. 

It’s time to put women in the spotlight.

With a focus on both men and women, we can celebrate mental health as a continuum of positive and challenging aspects of rural life for men, women, relationships and families.

“When we focus only on men, the mental health of women in farming is often invisible and so we don’t see the whole picture”

Steph Schmidt, Farm Life Psychologist

EMP_NS226 - Bridgitte Clune (1)

Join the 'Change The Picture' campaign

The campaign is the brainchild of Steph Schmidt, a farmer, psychologist, farm wife and mum. Steph has personally reached out to many women in farming across Australia who have each shared their insights about farmer mental health. 

These women have shared:

  • the struggles and challenges of farming life, AND
  • the strengths and joys of farming life.

Popping her psychologist hat on for this Steph is sharing the insights of farmer wellbeing for all to learn from and support each other. This campaign will share the stories of these women (roughly one per day), as well as insights and statistics about rural mental health.

To follow the campaign: check the blog feed feed on this site, follow us on Facebook and Instagram @stephschmidt.farmlifepsych and follow the hashtag #ChangeThePicture2023

Find Out More
Steph Schmidt: Farm Life Psych

“I struggle with the feeling of constantly dropping the ball when juggling the million different jobs.”

Naracoorte, SA

Steph Schmidt: Farm Life Psych

“Delivering ice blocks for afternoon tea and suddenly jumping in to lend a hand moving machinery”

Collie, NSW

Steph Schmidt: Farm Life Psych

“Farmer mental health, to me, looks like an ongoing battle with unrelenting stress exacerbated by factors like fluctuating stock prices”

Cooplacurripa, NSW

How can  YOU  get involved?

We'd love for you to share the journey with this important social change campaign

  • Follow #ChangeThePicture2023 on social media.
  • Like, comment, share and tag #changethepicture2023 posts.
  • Read the stories shared throughout the campaign on this site.
  • Start the Conversation around your own kitchen table - what does farmer mental health look like for you and your loved ones?
  • Share your own mental health story here to have it published during the campaign.

About Steph Schmidt


Steph knows all too well the joys and struggles of farming life. Besides being a farm life psychologist, Steph runs a large sheep & cropping farm with her husband and three boys at Worlds End, South Australia. (yes, it's actually a place)

Moving from the city to the country, after meeting her "farmer" 16 years ago - she has experienced first hand the isolation, frustrations, disappointments, drought and daily challenges of farming life.

Yet, Steph will tell you that she wouldn't have life any other way - just ask her. Farming life has also brought opportunities to work alongside her husband and three boys; gain satisfaction and contentment watching crops go from seed to silo; and the simple joys and pleasures of family bonfires, open spaces, and a love for the land.



Frequently Asked Questions

The mental health of farming and rural men has been a key focus area for over 15 years. While the conversation of farmer mental health, suicide and men's mental health has been a hot topic over this time - there have been minimal improvements and outcomes.

In order to really change the picture, and improve mental health in farming, we need to broaden the picture to include females in farming, as well as emphasising the importance of relationships, positive mental health, and proactive steps that we can all take to improve our mental health and wellbeing.

There are a lot of stereotypes surrounding mental health, and farming mental health. In particular the "stoic male farmer", the "tough, get on with it female farmer", and the "women chatting while having scones and a cup of tea".

This has not been my personal experience of farming life, and the more women I talk to, the more I realise we share similar challenges. This campaign aims to change some of the assumptions and stereotypes of farming mental health.

Mental Health Awareness raising has been a large part of the mental health picture for many years. The general population is increasingly aware of the signposts to watch out for when it comes to depression, stress, and anxiety. 

Raising an understanding of the continuum of mental health is vital. Mental health isn't black & white (depressed or healthy), it's a spectrum which we all move along every day. 

By showcasing the strengths and joys of farming life we also hope to share the positive mental health opportunities which come from living life on the land

In an emergency - contact LifeLine on 13 11 14 

Download the Roadmap to Support to stick on your fridge

Act for Ag Roadmap A4 FA.pdfRoadmap for support

Sign up up and receive a short series of emails from Steph Schmidt about the why behind the Change The Picture campaign - and how her picture of farming mental health has changed. 

weekly times