Friends get together to help shed the load

A PLACE where members of the rural communities can come together and get things off their chest has been created by two young friends with nothing more than a shed, chairs and a listening ear.

Jock Gibson and Kristy MacFarlane have started hosting ‘Shed Sessions’ for members of the rural Tasmanian community to come together in a safe and familiar place.

“It’s an event for us to sit around and talk about feelings,” Jock said.

“In agriculture there is a bit of a stigma on mental health. “To be tough and not talk and to just get by.

“We aren’t professionals, we aren’t councillors but we are here to get people out of their environment and get stuff off their chest.

“If it lightens the load from somebody then it’s a good result.”

The two friends started the sessions after seeing firsthand the difficulties so many people in the industry face in talking about their concerns and problems.

“We do see a lot of people open up about their struggles,” Kristy said

“What they deal with on a day-to-day basis on the farm, a lot of people go through a fair bit.”

The biggest challenge they face in hosting the events is simply encouraging people to take the first step in coming along.

“We’ve found we had a big reception when we first made the idea public, but it’s getting people to the events that is always the hardest part,” Kirsty said.

“It’s a three-to-four-hour chat with a barbecue in the middle.

“We find that in that in second session after we’ve eaten that everyone is a little more comfortable with each other.

“That’s when people are feeling good and really start to open up to each other.” Jock and Kristy are continuing to host their Shed Sessions around the state.

To learn about upcoming sessions or to get involved, find their Facebook group ‘Shed Sessions – Mental Health Chats’.