Despite prolonged droughts over the last decade across rural South Australia the majority of farmers continue to farm. This research asks the questions, 'what helps them to 'get by'?', and 'does this mean that they are resilient?'. In this study, resilience implies a strengths-based approach to mental health and wellbeing whilst other drought response programs focus on identifying and responding to problems or deficits. In using resilience to understand mental health and wellbeing in farm families, we move beyond the perceptions that resilience is a series of traits or characteristics, which protect an individual from the impact of adversity. Instead, we view resilience as a systemic process embedded in the wider social contexts that enables individuals to make judgements and decisions for themselves, their families and their communities.