Living in a rural or remote area

Living far away from the nearest city can bring up challenges that city people don’t often face. There are practical issues like access to health care and finding a job and more personal things like making friends and expanding your social network. If you feel like you’re not coping with the challenges there might be something more serious going on.

This might help if you:

  • Are living in a rural or remote area
  • Feel physically or socially isolated
  • Are finding it hard to get work
  • Don’t have easy access to healthcare in your area
  • Feel like you can’t meet new people
girl smiling in countryside

Pro support

A common difficulty felt by many people in rural areas is the lack of health professionals working in rural areas. Finding a counsellor or psychologist when you live 3 hours from the nearest city definitely limits your options when you’re looking for a bit of support. It’s times like this when online support, such as web chat, and telephone support like phone counselling, can come in handy.

Job hunting

Another difficulty noted by a lot of young people living in country areas is the lack of jobs. Tough times get tougher when you’re bored or struggling financially, so when unemployment is high, spirits are often low. Social welfare support, like accessing Centrelink, can also be hard to get when you live in a rural area.

Some things you can do to overcome barriers around employment include:

  • Make connections. In most towns and communities there are influential groups and people. You probably know who they are in your area. Introduce yourself to these people and see if they have any suggestions for how you can find work.
  • Join the club. Groups like Rotary, Lions clubs and Apex club sometimes have schemes or programs to support young people in their area. Get in touch and see if they have anything you might be able to benefit from.
  • Bye for now. Sometimes the only option is moving away from your hometown to seek education or employment. This doesn’t make you a failure and doesn’t mean you’ll never come back. Once you get your first job or a bit of training, you can always decide to move back.

Making friends

When you’ve known everyone in your town since you were little, it can be hard to make friends you don’t already know. This becomes particularly hard if you don’t really get on with the other people your age where you live. In situations like this, the internet might be able to come to the rescue.

If you have interests that aren’t shared by other members of your community, that doesn’t mean that you’re weird or uncool. Chances are there are whole sections of the internet dedicated to people with your interests, so get online and find some like-minded others. At the same time, make sure you keep in mind online safety and try not to neglect the family and friends you already have.

Tougher stuff

Living in rural or remote areas can definitely be challenging but it shouldn’t limit your ability to enjoy, and get the most out of your life. If you’re feeling really down and the loneliness is getting to you, don’t forget that there are people out there who are happy to have a yarn about how you’re going, you just might need to look a bit harder for them than your city counterparts.

What can I do now?

  • Set yourself goals and keep busy.
  • Jump online and see what other people are up to.
  • Try to find out about your local Lions club or Rotary group.
Last reviewed: 06 August, 2015
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