- By Cosmin Fedorko
Outback Station is a research-led design project developed from gaining key insights on mental and community health of farmers in rural and remote regions of Victoria.
Farming has long been associated with a unique set of characteristics that can promote great satisfaction with quality of life, (Fragar, Henderson, Morton, & Pollock, 2008). However, despite the reputable industry of farming as a peaceful and healthy way of life, people living and working on farms have to deal with hardships such as unpredictable climate economic and financial instability, social isolation, long working hours and reduced access to health services.
Studies show that farming communities in Australia experience mental health problems at twice the rate of the regional and metropolitan population making Australian agriculture one of the highest suicide rates of any industry in both rural and remote regions and have risen over the past three decades, especially among men, (Fact sheet 18 Suicide in rural and remote communities, 2007).
The Outback Station is a mobile pit-stop that provides a social intervention and user experiences for farmers which they don’t normally find on the farm. Drawing farmers off their farm was one of the key actions that could be used to improve the mental health of farmers and their families and this insight was realised after discussion with experts in the field. The service is spaced within an expandable freight container containing a range of User Experience services from 3D printing, Virtual Reality simulations and other interchangeable recreational spaces.
This design challenge allows opportunities to provide social innovative interventions that bring a healthier work/life balance for Victorian farmers who are constantly going through hardships that effect their lifestyle .
- Fragar, L., Henderson, A., Morton, C., & Pollock, K. (2008). The mental health of people on Australian farms – The Facts 2008. Retrieved 5 April 2016, from http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/aghealth/uploaded/Chartbooks/mental_health_rirdc.pdf
- Fact sheet 18 Suicide in rural and remote communities. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.livingisforeveryone.com.au/uploads/docs/LIFE-Fact%20sheet%2018.pdf
- By Cosmin Fedorko