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Farmers, mining and mental health: the impact on a farming community when a mine is proposed

  • Year: 2013
  • Author: Jennifer Moffatt, Peter Baker
  • Journal Name: Rural Society
  • Journal Number: Vol. 23 No.1
  • Publisher: eContent Management Pty Ltd
  • Published Location: Maleny, Qld.
  • ISBN: 1037-1656
  • Country: Australia

In Australia where the economic benefits of minerals resources development accrue at the national and regional levels, it is farming communities that are at the forefront of the challenges resulting from competing land use. This paper maps the mental health impacts on a farming community in the Clarence-Moreton coal basin, Queensland, after a minerals development proposal was announced.

 

Method: An exploratory study was conducted using an interpretive approach based on semi-structured interviews within a case study design. Results: A thematic account of existing and anticipated mental health impacts of minerals development on this community has two primary themes: psychological stress experienced by the farmers; and tensions within the community.

 

Conclusions: In addition to the long-term and increasing pressures on Australian farmers and a developing knowledge of the mental health risks they face, this study reveals a comparatively new source of psychological stress - the impacts from the announcement of a mining development proposal. The pre-development impacts that occurred in the Felton Valley resemble those known to occur with the announcement of large scale developments. There is opportunity therefore for such impacts to be anticipated, prepared for and resources set aside, with which to assist communities and individuals whose lives are adversely affected.

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