Vintage is already a gruelling time of year for wine grape growers.
And this year many growers in the warm inland regions of Australia are working under additional financial stress.
When the larger wineries announced late last year they would be cutting the price they paid for wine grapes, for many growers it meant yet another year where the price for their fruit would be below the cost of production.
With concerns in the community that the tough times could have a detrimental effect on mental health, the Growers’ Night Off was organised to coincide with Beyond Blue’s regional tour of South Australia.
Beyond Blue ambassador Tony McManus shared his personal story, about the suicide of his younger brother, and his own battle with depression.
Mr McManus says sharing personal stories is a powerful way to break down the stigma associated with asking for help.
Riverland councillor Robert Fielke agrees.
“The need for our services is enormous,” he said.
“Men try to deal with things by themselves, and aren’t always open about admitting their weaknesses or problems.
“Part of this event is try to encourage men to talk more, and share their problems.”
Kingston grower Dennis Barrett attended the event, both to gear about the options there are for support, but also to hear about ways he could be of support to his own family and friends.
“The Riverland is going through tough times, and when you’re in tough times you look need to around for potential help should you need it.”
This article first appeared on ‘ABC‘ on 20 March 2014.