Understanding the mental health impacts of drought on young people

Vic Drought Hub - Farmland 1
  • Federation University
  • Mental Health

To contribute knowledge and insights into how the last drought (early 2000's) impacted young people in the Ararat district who were in secondary school at that time.

Project status: on track

Project start date: 30 June 2023

Expected end date: November 2024

Vic Hub partner organisation: South-West Node (Southern Farming Systems)

External partner: Perennial Pasture Systems’ Girls & Grass Advisory Group

We need to understand the impact that the last drought has had on the attitudes and perceptions of younger people in rural areas and those wanting to enter farming. How has their experience when young influenced their current view on farming? And what could be put in place to help young people when the next drought occurs?


Update: April 2024

This participatory-action research project is using Photovoice, a feminist participatory research method, with 7 participants who lived and experienced the Millennial Drought. Participants were recruited from the Ararat region in January 2024, and all had experienced the Millennial Drought – some in the Ararat region and some from other parts of Victoria and New South Wales in the early 2000’s.

Photovoice is an image-based research method; with participants taking two photographs for this project:

  • first photograph: participants showed, and spoke to, a photograph of a representation of their experience of the early 2000’s drought
  • second photograph: participants were asked to take a photograph of a representation of the experience they would have liked, including support for themselves and their family, and who is best to provide such support

Through three focus group meetings, project participants discussed their experiences using the photos as artefacts through a researcher-led process. Over these meetings, participants’ stories have been recorded and transcribed and presented back to them for review before moving into the final phase.