Leila - Mother, wife, farmer, film maker, charity director, Tatyoon VIC

My picture of the struggle in farmer mental health is:

Being a mother is hard at the best of times, but being a mother on the farm can at times be extremely difficult. The guilt of not being a good mum is what eats away at me. I worry that my ambitions and dreams in life interfere with being a good mum. I remember my mum devoting her life to raising our family and caring for us, making sure we we’re achieving our goals. Was there a time she once had dream and ambitions in life that I just don’t know about? Is there a point in life where a woman stops chasing her dreams and focuses on being a good mother and wife? I feel selfish when I go way for work and leave my husband to look after the kids while he is still working on the farm. Every day I have to remind myself that it is ok to be a mum that works, its ok to have dreams of making a difference in the world. Because if I wasn’t doing what I love in life, working on projects that I am passionate about I wouldn’t be a happy mother.


Some of the glimmer/joyful moments that reflect farmer mental health for me:

My husband and I are a team, we are partners in everything we do. I am his right-hand woman on the farm and he is my biggest supporter in all my crazy passion projects. If we did not have the strong relationship we have, life would be very hard. I’m not someone who has a lot of girlfriends, I have maybe 4 friends in life that I would say are true friends. But my best friend is my husband Sean, and without him, I would simply not be who I am today. We talk LOTS, we support each other in everything we do. When you live on the land you need a life partner that truly is your life partner, because you can go days without having contact with people outside your immediate family.


A little more about Leila:

I am passionate about supporting mental health in farming communities. I want to change the way we speak about mental health and suicide and help people seek help when they feel they need it. I grew up with a father who has bipolar, I witnessed how hard it is for a man to live in a small farming community with this condition. The narrative around mental health needs to change, and we as a society need to have real and deep conversations about how we deal with it.


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