Virtual Psychologist CEO Dervla Loughnane said she had to double her staff due to the overwhelming response, but she was concerned that some city users were detracting from services specifically designed to help country folk.

“There has been a huge demand from rural areas but unfortunately we have seen some city-based people creeping in.” Dervla Loughnane

The text messaging psychology service, which is funded by farmer support charity Aussie Helpers, provides 24/7 counselling and support for people in rural and remote areas.

Rural people are contacting us and saying they have nothing else, no other support services. Dervla Loughnane

“Rural farmers are very isolated, and they don’t know where to start and this is a good starting point for them that is non-confrontational,” Mrs Loughnane said.

“Some of them are saying they don’t even have the petrol money to get into the nearest doctor or don’t have time to leave the farm and they are using the service for that reason.”

“We have a duty of care and we will never turn anyone away but every time we pick up a client in the city is we are losing money and taking the support away for rural and remote people who need the service.”

People from rural and remote areas can text Virtual Psychologist on 0488 807 266 at any time of day or night to talk to a qualified clinician.