John Harper

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John Harper

John Harper - Mental health advocate and Former Finalist Local Hero fo the Year, NSW


John Harper is a dryland wheat/sheep farmer from  Stockinbingal . Stockinbingal lies between Temora and Cootamundra, NSW. Married with three daughters John’s simple goal in life was to be a better than average farmer and hand over the family farm in good condition to his children. Depression nearly destroyed John’s opportunity to fulfill this simple goal.


Having no formal qualifications in mental health John speaks from personal experience. John experienced depression and spent some time reflecting on the impact and the remedies of poor mental well-being. He is convinced that simple philosophies and strategies, combined with an awareness of the importance of mental well-being, can prevent individuals sliding into depression.


Originally John became proactive because he wanted to help a mate avoid sliding into depression. In helping him John became aware that other mates were in a similar position. Indeed many individuals in rural communities are in danger of falling into depression. The climatic and financial situations are providing the conditions that promote poor mental well-being and depression. A real danger in preventing depression is the stigma, the fear we have in talking and discussing mental health. John’s strategies are all aimed at overcoming this stigma.


John talks about what he has learnt and observed since he had depression. To talk is to understand. The knowledge thus gained allows us to identify and address the problem of depression in ourselves, our families and in our mates. Thus equipped we can enjoy our lives and future.