Tim Carnell, managing director of Kirra Pines at Ballandean: Picture: Natalie Grono
Tim Carnell, managing director of Kirra Pines at Ballandean: Picture: Natalie Grono

How one business is helping workers talk about taboo topics

SOMETIMES it's the little things that can make a big difference.

While the region is enjoying a rain-induced revival, the toll of the last couple years still runs deep.

For more than 12 months Kirra Pines at Ballandean were carting water, job security wasn't a surity and owners, workers and their families were feeling the weight of it.

Farm workers are typically a proud bunch, so chat about mental health wasn't a routine conversation over smoko.

So they introduced a way to break the ice - colourful shirts.

"Our guys drove this initiative from the ground up. It wasn't something we said they have to do," Kirra Pines owner Tim Carnell said.

The business has teamed up with TradeMutt, who sell 'workshirts starting conversations that save lives'.

 

Kirra Pines workers in their TradeMutt shirts. Picture: Contributed
Kirra Pines workers in their TradeMutt shirts. Picture: Contributed

 

The striking shirts, embroided with uplifting messages, are aimed at raising awareness about mental health.

"It's a good thing to make people aware of these issues, especially during this drought and very tough times, it's more than relevant to our community and potentially our team here.

"Certainly farmers, associated workers, the industry and right through the Stanthorpe and Granite Belt community, even to the kids going to school, everyone has been affected in some way by the drought.

"Mental health issues, I think, is one of those things that really creep up on you."

The Kirra Pines team don the shirts every Friday.

"I think the guys actually ordered more shirts in extra colours so they can wear one on say a Tuesday too.

"I suppose it helps make it a little less taboo of someone is feeling like they need to have a chat," Mr Carnell said.

The recent rain, while not drought-breaking, has certainly lifted Mr Carnell's mood.

"We've been able to finish carting water.

"The whole aim of the game for 2019/20 was just to survive.

"We've got a good chance of doing that now."

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