Hi….  I’m a wheat and sheep farmer from Stockinbingal, NSW.
I care about improving the mental resilience and wellbeing of farmers, families and rural folk in Australia’s regional and remote communities.

After being bitten by the black dog myself, I realised how many of my mates were also struggling with depression and their mental health – but not openly talking about it. I thought it was about time we had a yarn about how bloody tough it can be out in the bush and how we can help ourselves and our mates. 

In 2006 I launched Mate Helping Mate, a grassroots self-help program offering practical advice and strategies and a variety of creative presenting methods tailored to remote areas. I’ve worked with St Vincent de Paul, WorkCover NSW, YWCA, Centacare and a whole bunch of other good people, and travelled across the country to speak at events and promote mental wellbeing. But I can’t get to all the events, or talks to everyone who needs to hear this message.
So introducing the….

Mate Helping Mate Website 

And …The Mate Helping Mate Podcast

Photo by Erin Johnson for ©2019

The Mate Helping Mate podcast is about mental health and mateship in the bush.

I’ve spent the last few months travelling to communities across New South Wales and Victoria to hear from everyday farmers, locals and experts about what works and what doesn’t in remote Australia. I’ve also had a couple of city slickers join me on the road – who were born in the bush – and they’ve been doing a cracking job of recording it, editing it and making it sound flash.

The crux of it is, people in the bush face a whole host of challenges that are different from those in the big smoke, including the stress of financial dependence on the land, erratic environmental conditions and social isolation, and increased barriers to accessing health care. 

There’s also shocking statistics showing that suicide rates increase with remoteness, and that in very remote areas are more than double those within our major cities. It’s an absolute tragedy.

So, this podcast is a response to this. It’s by rural folk. It’s for rural folk. Straight talking without the whitecoat dictionary. It’s the result of Aussie mateship and ordinary people stepping up, sharing their stories, and reaching out to help themselves or a mate who might be struggling.
I’m bloody proud of it.

Mate helping Mate Podcast 2019. Photography by Erin Johnson for

You can listen to the podcast in full at the website. Or, if you have a fancy phone, you can head to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher to listen.

Share this podcast with a mate and talk about mental health.
Don’t wait.

We reckon mental health is everybody’s business in the bush. Together we can make a positive difference. Together we can save lives.

Thank you!

John Harper



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