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Agriculture Farming Rural, Mental Health

Drought, flood, stock prices – now add ketamine, cocaine and alcohol: this is one farmer’s story. And he’s not alone.

Stories of Us 2 mins read

Broken Hill farmer turned Lifeline Ambassador Brendan Cullen talks to Sarah Grynberg on LiSTNR’s STORIES OF US and it's tough …


In this week’s episode of Stories of Us, farmer Brendan Cullen shares his upbringing on a sheep station in regional Australia. Growing up on Mount Westwood near Broken Hill, he recalls carefree days exploring the vast outdoors with his younger brother. He describes the daily routines of farm life, including stock work and maintenance tasks on the huge 150,000-acre property he currently works on.


Brendan candidly discusses the challenges of rural isolation and the toll it took on his mental health, leading to a struggle with depression exacerbated by self-medication with alcohol. He talks of how he found the courage to confront his issues and adopt healthier coping mechanisms. Brendan's journey highlights the resilience and strength found in rural communities.


LET’S CUT TO THE CHASE – Brendan talks about how farming Australia has always faced drought, floods, stock price and interest rate challenges but now there’s the increasing use of ketamine, cocaine and alcohol.


In particular at timestamp 14:12 he talks about how rife drug taking is rife. “Self-medicating is rife in the rural industry – alcohol and drugs – ketamine and cocaine… driving big machinery, in the shearing industry, in farming communities.”  Soundbite also attached.




Stories of Us is a collection of untold stories from some of Australia’s biggest names and everyday heroes to celebrate regional Australian communities on LiSTNR. In each episode, host Sarah Grynberg from A Life of Greatness, is joined by a guest whose journey was made against the backdrop of regional Australia.

Hear Stories of Us with Sarah Grynberg on the Listnr app.



The full transcript is available


Contact details:

Kath Rose 

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