Drought Wellbeing Service

Graphic: drought

1 in 5 Australians, regardless of where they live, will experience a mental disorder in any given year. The RFDS (Queensland section) recognizes that it is often difficult to seek help when living in remote and rural areas. 

It is important to acknowledge that resilience and determination are a natural part of rural life. Expressions such as 'if you fall off your horse, you get back on it again' and 'just get on with it' are heard frequently as a response to tackling the challenges of rural life.

How we deal with stress can impact not only our current and future health, but the wellbeing of those around us. Often by talking through our experiences, we can explore different and more helpful solutions and strategies that may reduce the impact of challenging times on our health, and of people around us.

Since April 2015, RFDS (Queensland Section) has been leading the Drought Wellbeing Service across Queensland. This program offers counselling and support to people living and working in areas impacted by drought. Through the Drought Wellbeing Service, qualified Mental Health Clinicians work alongside existing RFDS Clinicians and attend established RFDS primary health care clinics. Mental Health Clinicians are also available via telehealth or outreach sessions providing strategies that can help in tough times, or an ear to listen to wellbeing concerns. 

Graphic: Farmer

Our Mental Health Clinicians are specifically trained to help people with a range of health and wellbeing issues including:

  • Sleep difficulties
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Grief and Loss
  • Relationship issues
  • Self esteem
  • Stress management
  • Work-related issues
  • Building resilience through change
  • Links to appropriate support within the community

Our Services

We can offer:

  • Individual counselling sessions
  • Talks, presentations and training
  • Pit Stop Health Checks

DWS services are free of charge, and referrals can be made by individuals, family members, GP's or community support agencies.

If you, a friend or loved one, would like to chat with one of the RFDS Drought Wellbeing Service Mental Health Clinicians please call:    


Your local RFDS team (available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

North West and Townsville

  • Tim Driscoll, Senior Mental Health Clinician  0438 324 226

Central West

  • Sandra Paterson, Mental Health Clinician 0436 381 261

South West 

  • Karen Sherlock, Senior Mental Health Clinician 0418 358 083
  • Alex Donoghue, Senior Mental Health Clinician 0447 086 607

For further information regarding Drought Wellbeing Services in your area, contact Gail Jamieson, Manager Outback Mental Health on 0427 288 432 or email infodws@rfdsqld.com.au

24 Hour Helplines

  • Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
  • Life Line: 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back: 1300 659 467
  • Mensline: 1300 78 99 78
  • headspace: (12-25 y/o) 1800 650 890

The Drought Wellbeing Service is funded by the Queensland Government