Friday, July 8, 2022

Cash boost for rural health

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have committed another joint funding boost to rural mental health.

In opening the Fieldays Health Hub Guy said health was a challenge for isolated communities.

The hub featured 30 exhibitors showcasing initiatives and services aimed at improving the health of rural communities.

 “Farmers are really good at checking the dipstick in the tractor, checking the livestock. But they are not good at thinking about their own wellness,” Guy said.

Coleman said technology was helping improve health services but there were still barriers, which the new money would help address.

The ministers committed $500,000 for rural mental would go towards 20 workshops for rural health professionals treating people at risk of suicide, continued support for rural clinical champions and a medical director as well as support aimed at younger rural workers.

“The Government recognises that rural life goes in cycles and we want to support our rural communities through the ups and downs,” Coleman said.

“The Rural Mental Wellness initiative is administered by Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand and rural support trusts.

“It’s the right mix of further raising awareness of mental health issues within rural communities coupled with practical help to improve the skills of the health professionals who work alongside the rural sector,” Coleman said.

Guy said it was important farmers and their families knew they weren’t alone if they needed someone to talk to.

“There is a wide range of good advice and support from organisations like rural support trusts, Farmstrong, and Dairy NZ.”

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