In­put needed to help boost on­line re­sources for farm­ers

Central and North Burnett Times - - THE FENCE POST -

FARM­ERS have some of the high­est rates of de­pres­sion and sui­cide across the globe.

Ac­cord­ing to a 2014 Re­gional Well be­ing Sur­vey, al­most 50 per cent of Aus­tralian farm­ers lived with a mild or worse men­tal dis­or­der, com­pared with 26 per cent of the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion.

To tackle the fig­ures, re­searchers have cre­ated an on­line re­source pro­vid­ing farm­ers with tools to cope with men­tal stres­sors.

The new pro­gram has been de­vel­oped by re­searchers at the Univer­sity of South Aus­tralia in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Univer­sity of Ade­laide, National Cen­tre for Farmer Health and the Freema­sons Foundation Cen­tre for Men’s Health.

Lead re­searcher Kate Fen­nell said it was the first on­line re­source of its kind, specif­i­cally tar­get­ing farm­ers to give them ef­fec­tive cop­ing tech­niques and pre­ven­tion meth­ods.

Dr Fen­nell said it would not only help farm­ers who lived with a men­tal ill­ness, but it could also be used as a pre­ven­tion tool to ad­dress po­ten­tial is­sues.

“It is go­ing to fo­cus on help­ing farm­ers deal with things that are be­yond their con­trol,” she said.

“Things like the weather, com­mod­ity prices and dis­ease out­break – all things that aren’t eas­ily fixed, can’t be con­trolled,” she said.

“And re­search has shown us they are what causes the most stress.”

Dr Fen­nell, who grew up on a farm in South Aus­tralia, said she was look­ing for 80 farm­ers from across the coun­try to as­sist in de­vel­op­ing and eval­u­at­ing the web­site.

She said she hoped to launch within 12 months.

Visit sur­vey.unisa. edu.au. /index.php/ 176398/lang-en.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

FARM­ING HEALTH: Dr Kate Fen­nell wants help from farm­ers to cre­ate the per­fect web­site.

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