Strengthening farmers through the camera's eye

Masters Thesis

Bromley, Kayleen Yvette. 2014. Strengthening farmers through the camera's eye. Masters Thesis Master of Health. University of Southern Queensland.

Strengthening farmers through the camera's eye

TypeMasters Thesis
AuthorBromley, Kayleen Yvette
SupervisorGorman, Professor Don
Eley, Dr Robert: Jasman, Professor Anne
Trimmer, Karen
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameMaster of Health
Number of Pages232

One farmer in Australia commits suicide every four days (AAP, 2008; Judd et al., 2006). They have a higher death and morbidity rate than the general population (Courtney, 2006; Fragar & Franklin, 2000) and are over represented in farm injury statistics (Troeth, 2004). Their steady decline in numbers and the reduction of their local peer networks further increases their social and professional isolation along with their geographical isolation. Farmers, the majority of whom in Australia are generally referred to as men, even though 28% are women (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012), are a group that are difficult to access because of their isolation and reluctance to use health services.

Information Communication Technology (ICT), along with climate change and the media is bringing the attention of rural land desecration and its impact on our farmers and production to the fore. This research masters aims to explore: Will farmers in the area previously known as the rural shire of Crows Nest Queensland, access counselling services by social workers, using web cameras via the internet in their own home?

The project involved recruiting a sample of farmers in the shire of what was known as Crows Nest (the shire). The technology used was video streaming through web cameras via the internet with laptop computers. The usefulness of video streaming using web cameras with a social worker, in offering counselling services to farmers, was evaluated. The research is primarily qualitative with participants completing a written pre - demonstration questionnaire, and immediately following participating in a live web camera interactive demonstration; concluding with a post - demonstration audio interview questionnaire. The responses and data signifies the potential use of offering counselling services to rurally isolated farmers in the privacy of their own environment (home, paddock, tractor) which is applicable for them to be able to access such services via broadband wireless technology. This can assist overcome the issues of the ‘tyranny of distance’ and other factors such as lack of anonymity, privacy and cost. This research indicates these issues form part of the barriers for farmers in seeking help.

This thesis concludes with recommendations for change in ‘farmer well-being’ service provision, by redesigning, developing and implementing an alternative service delivery model which could also address employment and training for those in the health industry who have acquired a disability to be able to work within their own home environment. This model would offer professional counselling services delivered to them by professionally trained social workers with a rural (preferably farming) background, using web cameras via the internet in the privacy of their own home.

Keywordssuicide; farmers; counselling; social workers
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440902. Counselling, wellbeing and community services
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Health and Wellbeing
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Strengthening farmers through the camera’s eye
Bromley, Kayleen, Gorman, Don and Eley, Robert. 2009. "Strengthening farmers through the camera’s eye." 2009 National Men's Health Gathering: The Life of Men. Newcastle, Australia 06 - 09 Oct 2009