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Farmer Health Research Group

The Farmer Health Group is helping to prevent the mental health issues of Australian farmers. 

Over 307,000 people are employed in agriculture in Australia. For generations, Australian farmers have been independent, stoic and skilled at solving practical problems. However, their job is physically and psychologically hazardous and they face many barriers to accessing professional health—and particularly mental health—help. 

Farmers' levels of personal and economic success are largely dependent upon factors beyond their control, such as weather, disease outbreaks and commodity prices—characteristics of farming that make the occupation psychologically hazardous. Periods of drought are expected to become more frequent and prolonged in the future, further contributing to the hazardous nature of farming.

The Farmer Health Group works with farmers to design interventions that help them better cope with things beyond their control and, in doing do, prevent mental health issues. We are looking for sustainable, cost-effective ways to build a deeper understanding about why Australian farmers experience inferior health and mental health outcomes. With this information—and together with farmers—we will develop interventions to prevent mental health issues and reduce farmers’ attitudinal barriers to accessing professional health and mental health help. 

Lead researcher: Professor Deborah Turnbull

Research team

  • Associate Professor James Dollman - Co-Lead Researcher, University of South Australia
  • Dr Kate Gunn - Co-Lead Researcher, University of South Australia
  • Dr Camille Short
  • Dr Andrew Vincent
Research support   
  • Alison Barrett
  • Nathan Harrison


Interested in undertaking a postgraduate research degree with us?

We offer exciting opportunities for researchers at the honours, masters and PhD levels. Our research degrees are open to students from a broad range of backgrounds, and range from basic sciences to clinical research. If you are interested in human health, consider furthering your research career with us.