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Sale and Trafalgar to host Rabo Client Council’s Men’s Mental Wellbeing Workshops

Gippsland communities will soon have the chance to access mental wellbeing information tailored to the needs of country-based men, at Rabobank-hosted events in Sale and Trafalgar.

The ‘Blokes, Bites & Beverages’ events, which will be held mid-March, provide rural and remote communities with an opportunity to discuss mental health awareness in the bush. This initiative, spearheaded by the local regional Rabo Client Council – a group of Rabobank’s farming clients who volunteer their time implementing programs that contribute to the sustainability and wellbeing of rural and regional communities – is funded by the Rabobank Community Fund.

Offered to attendees free of charge, this event will feature mental health advocates Mary O’Brien, founder of ‘Are you bogged mate?’, and Tom Boyd, ex-AFL footballer and author.

Rabo Client Council member and Westbury-based dairy farmer Chris Griffin said mental health and wellbeing awareness is a “critical conversation our rural communities need to be having – particularly for men living and working in rural areas”.

“It’s important we keep an eye on our mates and check how they are coping,” Mr Griffin said. “Rural communities are often dealing with challenging weather conditions and volatile commodity prices – it’s important we know what to look out for and can identify friends that may be at risk.”

Mr Griffin said the workshops, which are an initiative of Rabobank’s Southern Victoria and Tasmanian Rabo Client Council, align with one of the council’s’ key pillars of improving rural wellbeing.

“Isolation and difficulty accessing health services are some of the challenges faced by rural and remote communities. These workshops are aiming to increase awareness on the importance of farmers’ well-being,” he said.

“These men-only events aim to provide the audience with a down-to-earth approach to understanding mental health – so come along, and you may be able to help a mate.”

Mr Griffin said the Rabo Client Council is looking forward to being able to bring two mental health advocates of this calibre to Gippsland. The event’s program includes Mary O'Brien, who in 2018 established ‘Are you bogged mate?’, an initiative designed to connect country residents with lifesaving support services.

In addition to running “Are you bogged mate?”, Ms O'Brien is a Queensland-based spray drift risk management specialist who has spent her career working closely within rural communities. “After spending her whole life working in rural and remote Australia, she knows country people. She’s worked with them, for them, beside them and most importantly, she knows how to talk with them. It is this down-to-earth perspective that makes ‘Are you bogged mate?’ resonate with rural and remote communities,” Mr Griffin said.

Tom Boyd, who will be joining Mary O’Brien at this event, believes his mental health was more important to him than football fame and success and has been helping others deal with their own mental health issues. Last year, Mr Boyd published a book – ‘Nowhere to Hide’ – that takes you on his journey. With football as the backdrop, it's a book focused on mental health, honesty with yourself and what it takes to overcome depression and anxiety, and create resilience.

Rabobank Regional Manager for Southern Victoria and Tasmania, Deborah Maskell-Davies said the bank’s Client Council network is comprised of small groups of Rabobank clients from diverse commodity sectors who meet regularly to identify and discuss the challenges facing the agricultural sector and rural communities.

“We listen and learn about the issues that are most important to our clients, our rural communities and the wider food and agriculture industry.

“Together with the councils, we develop meaningful grass roots initiatives to support agricultural education, rural health and wellbeing, sustainability, and help create rural/urban connections,” Ms Maskell-Davies said.

Event date and location details:

  • Tuesday 12 March, 2024 – 6.00pm to 9.30pm – Sale Turf Club, 1227 Maffra-Sale Road, Sale – Food and drink provided (including non-alcoholic beverages) – This event is for blokes only and registrations are appreciated (to assist with catering requirements), however walk-ins are also welcome.
  • Wednesday 13 March, 2024 – 6.00pm to 9.30pm – Trafalgar Bowls Club, 15 Seven Mile Road, Trafalgar – Food and drink provided (including non-alcoholic beverages) – This event is for blokes only and registrations are appreciated (to assist with catering requirements), however walk-ins are also welcome.

To register attendance please click here.


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