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Just A Farmer

Season 3

Trigger Warning 

In this episode, we do talk about suicide, which can be distressing. If you need resources or support go to or for 24 hour free counselling in Australia, the number for Lifeline is 13 11 14.

Leila McDougall wears many hats – not just an Akubra. As well as being a farmer, she’s a mother, a teacher, a writer, producer, actor and former Miss Australia. Most recently she’s harnessed all those skills to become a mental health advocate in a self-funded film called ‘Just a Farmer’ which is currently being shown in regional cinemas. Her motivation is to inspire a better conversation around mental health, with her young children at the heard of what she does. To learn more Leila McDougall joins me now to discuss:

  • Leila’s favourite place on her farm in Victoria’s west.

  • ‘Just A Farmer’, the movie is beautifully shot but, also has a powerful message behind it.

  • As a teacher, Leila decided on making a film rather than a documentary based on her own experience of what people engage with.

  • The film has a great cast, including the wonderful Robert Taylor among others and, she shares what was it like to work with such a team.

  • Leila wrote, produced and starred in the film -  she plays a newly widowed mother of two, left in the care of an alcoholic father in law.

  • If the viewer was to take home one message what Leila would want that to be? “Just talk”.

  • The trailer ends on this quote: “An Australian farmer dies by suicide every 10 days. Farming – the most important job in the world.”

  • This powerful statistic and how it shows a real problem laid bare – and Leila shares what motivated her to share this message.

  • Growing up in the country and now living on a farm, she imparts her wisdom and git to her children.

  • There are so many hard things about farming and the film tackles a lot of that – isolation, debt, shame and, how ‘just talking’ can make the difference.

  • Leila’s favourite thing about this life on the land.

  • The most unexpected thing to happen in the making of the movie.

  • The most common misconception about farmers.

  • The ultimate dream for the future.

We hope to see you back on the road soon, to learn more about how Australia grows on the next episode of Australian Farmers with Angie Asimus.








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