Rabobank-supported mental health workshops
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Forbes and Gunnedah to host Rabobank-supported mental health workshops

The communities of Forbes and Gunnedah have the chance to access a service dedicated to encouraging country-based people to talk about mental health, at a series of Rabobank hosted-workshops.

The practical ‘Are you bogged mate?’ Workshops – providing rural and remote communities with an opportunity to discuss topics such as depression and suicide awareness in the bush – will be held in Forbes and Gunnedah in late March.

The initiative has been spearheaded by food and agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank’s Rabo Client Council – a group of the bank’s farming clients who volunteer their time implementing programs that contribute to the sustainability of rural and regional communities.

Offered at no cost to participants, the interactive workshops will be led by Mary O'Brien, who in 2018 established ‘Are you bogged mate?’, an initiative designed to connect country men and women with lifesaving support services.

Rabobank regional manager for central and northern NSW, Toby Mendl said mental health awareness is an “important conversation our communities need to be having”.

“In addition to running “Are you bogged mate”, Mary O'Brien is a Queensland spray drift risk management specialist who has spent her career working closely within rural communities,” Mr Mendl said.

“Mary is a passionate advocate for agriculture and was raised on the land, and she understands the diverse challenges that those in the rural sector may face.

“After spending her whole life working in rural and remote Australia, Mary knows country people. She’s worked with them, for them and beside them and most importantly, she knows how to talk to them.”

He said this down-to-earth perspective is what makes ‘Are you bogged mate?’ resonate with rural and remote communities.

Mr Mendl said Mary O'Brien’s mission to support rural mental health closely aligns with one of the five key themes of the Rabo Client Councils and the Rabo Community Fund – rural health.

The workshops will be organised by the Rabo Client Council and funded by the Rabo Community Fund.

“The Rabo Community Fund has also committed to helping fund a personal assistant for ‘Are you bogged mate?’ over three years – freeing up Mary’s time so she can get on with supporting rural Australia's mental health,” he said.

"We're proud to be supporting Mary and her grassroots approach to mental health in the bush. Her workshops are down to earth and the tools and language she uses are relatable.”

Mr Mendl said: “Recognising the challenges in both Forbes and Gunnedah as a result of the floods last year, we are hopeful these workshops can help make a difference in the ongoing recovery within these communities.”

Workshop dates and locations are:

  • Monday 20 March 2023 – 4.30pm to 6.00pm – Gunnedah Golf Club, 1 George Street, Gunnedah – Drinks and nibbles provided
  • Tuesday 21 March 2023 – 5.00pm to 6:30pm – Forbes Golf & Sportsman’s Hotel, 17 Parkes Road, Forbes – Drinks and nibbles provided

To register to participate, please click here.

Participants are able to register their attendance via the link, however walk-ins are also welcome. Registration will assist for catering purposes.


Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is a part of the international Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 120 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 38 countries, servicing the needs of approximately 8.4 million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is one of Australasia’s leading agricultural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the region’s food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 90 branches throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Media contacts:

Denise Shaw
Head of Media Relations
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand
Phone: 02 8115 2744 or 0439 603 525
Email: denise.shaw@rabobank.com

Will Banks
Media Relations Manager
Rabobank Australia
Phone: 0418 216 103
Email: will.banks@rabobank.com