BARCALDINE local Rhiannon Bennett has received one of nine Rural Bank tertiary scholarships.
Passionate about supporting the psychological wellbeing of rural farmers, Ms Bennett made the difficult decision to move away from home to pursue her dream through a course at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.
Ms Bennett said she has experienced first-hand, the effects drought and natural disasters on farming community's mental health.
"Accessing psychological services can often be difficult for those in rural communities," she said.
"Seeing those around me suffer from depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses led me to pursue the behavioural science (psychology) course.
"After completing my studies I hope to return home to my local community to educate farmers and help raise awareness about mental health.
"My dream is to help the agricultural industry grow and prosper by providing support and assistance to those in need, and helping to break the stigma surrounding mental health in farming."
Rural Bank Managing Director and CEO, Alexandra Gartmann, said she was encouraged by the volume and quality of applications.
"It is abundantly clear from the 136 applications received this year that Australian youth are passionate about the sector. We've seen a significant jump in female applications for the program as well as an increased appetite to explore alternative avenues to engage in agriculture through courses such as the behavioural sciences," Ms Gartmann said.
Scholarship recipients will receive $5,000 of financial support for the first year of their studies. Subject to academic performance funding may be extended to support a second year.