“Working in very stressful and difficult circumstances can have a significant effect on a person’s mental health and those in the rural community can be vulnerable after such a large-scale event,” Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew said.
The Ministry of Health is working with local rural organisations in the drought-declared rural communities to hold a short series of workshops teaching people to recognise the signs of mental health problems and know how to respond. The dates and locations of the workshops will be announced shortly.
“We know this has been an extremely trying time for many farmers and the impacts are likely to continue for some time, possibly even years. For some farmers, getting through winter and early spring is going to be challenging for a range of reasons including having to manage on-farm issues caused by drought, financial constraints and ongoing uncertainty and stress,” Goodhew said.
“That’s why we need to provide access to as many tools as possible to cope. What’s really important is that people working in rural areas understand when they need help, feel confident to ask for it and know where to go to get it.”
The workshops add to a number of other mental health initiatives to support the rural community including activity by Like Minds, Like Mine providers and rural organisations like Federated Farmers.