As a rule I don’t think rural men are challenged by ‘the isolation’. I think most actually thrive on it, they enjoy the peace and tranquillity that surrounds them.
They enjoy the time they spend tending the earth and it’s creatures. They are nourished and challenged by nature and all it’s hardships.
Everyone needs interaction with other people but isolation only really becomes a major problem when coupled with depression.
True: rural men ‘don’t talk about emotions’, that’s not how they are wired and they never will be so stop expecting it of them.
True: rural men don’t ‘express their feelings’ in the same way that inner city society expects them to.
Let’s face it, rural men are never going to be like their soft pink-handed city counterparts (no disrespect to city blokes intended, purely a comparison!).
Country blokes aren’t going to join a men’s group or catch up with mates to discuss their feelings, relationships, or finances over a double decaf latte at some hipster café that has kale on the menu. That’s not how they roll.
Rural men let off steam (release emotions) differently. They play footy, go camping, shooting, fishing, ride horses or dirt bikes, go water skiing, have a few beers with mates, they might even throw a few harmless punches with a mate after too many beers or on the footy field.
These are just some of the release valves for rural men and they need to be supported and encouraged to do whatever it is that gives them release. Don’t let the pressure build up inside.
There are multitudes of factors that lead to depression in rural men – droughts, floods, rising input costs, falling commodity prices, pressure from banks, family pressure, feeling compelled to stay on the farm, etcetera.
Today rural men and particularly farmers have additional pressures to previous generations. They are expected to be soil scientists, agronomists, hydrologists, accountants, meteorologists, chemical experts, mechanics, engineers, marketers, environmentalists and the list goes on.
Add to that a society that tells them they need to share 50% parenting of their children, support their partner in her career, share the housework, and all the other gender equality stuff.