Boost for ru­ral men­tal health sup­port

South Waikato News - - Your Health - LUKE KIRKEBY AND BRIT­TANY PICK­ETT

South Waikato ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties are set to ben­e­fit from the Gov­ern­ment’s na­tional $500,000 men­tal health ini­tia­tive’s boost.

Dur­ing the Farmer’s Big Break­fast at Fiel­d­ays it was an­nounced that the Min­istry of Health and the Min­istry of Pri­mary In­dus­tries will each pro­vide $250,000 to the one of fund­ing boost.

One of the ini­tia­tives set to ben­e­fit from the boost is the Waikato Hau­raki Coro­man­del Ru­ral Sup­port Trust which has ex­pe­ri­enced fa­cil­i­ta­tors through­out the re­gion who are able to as­sist in solv­ing is­sues.

Chair­man Neil Ba­teup said the boost will go a long way to en­sur­ing ser­vice con­tin­ues.

‘‘The South Waikato is part of the greater sup­port trust area and the fund­ing will be used first of all to pro­mote the ser­vice to those in­di­vid­u­als who need it and the 0800 787 254 num­ber which puts them in con­tact with a fa­cil­i­ta­tor,’’ he said.

Ba­teup said it will also be used for the trust’s Good Yarns pro­gramme.

‘‘Good Yarns is where we help peo­ple recog­nise and re­spond to peo­ple with men­tal heath is­sues and train farm­ers and ru­ral pro­fes­sion­als,’’ he said.

He said men­tal health is­sues in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties were wide­spread through­out the coun­try.

‘‘It is right across the sec­tor due to farm­ers at times fac­ing added pres­sures and iso­la­tion so our role is to make them aware there are ser­vices out there,’’ he said.

Ba­teup said there were many signs of men­tal health to look out for.

‘‘Peo­ple can be­come quite with­drawn and won’t be as so­cia­ble as they once were,’’ he said

‘‘They may also be mak­ing ab­nor­mal de­ci­sions and may be tired be­cause they are not sleep­ing well.’’

He ad­vised peo­ple to help where they could and utilise the ser­vice’s num­ber.

‘‘Have a chat with them and see if they have any con­cerns about work. Also ask them if you can ring the Ru­ral Sup­port Trust on their be­half,’’ he said.

While males are seen as the main suf­fers of men­tal health is­sues in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties he said it can also ef­fect fe­males.

‘‘De­pres­sions is not nec­es­sar­ily a male thing. Of­ten wives and part­ners are the ones who look af­ter fi­nan­cial records while the males are out on the farm do­ing the phys­i­cal stuff which means they see where there are is­sues com­ing up. Pres­sure can def­i­nitely mount both ways,’’ he said.

The min­istries will be work­ing to­gether to de­velop a pro­gramme with both na­tional and lo­cal com­po­nents.

Pri­mary In­dus­tries min­is­ter Nathan Guy said the fund­ing was in recog­ni­tion of the im­por­tance of well­be­ing for farm­ers and their fam­ily.

‘‘Farm­ers are re­ally good at look­ing af­ter the land, an­i­mals and ma­chin­ery, but they aren’t tra­di­tion­ally as good at look­ing af­ter them­selves.’’

He said it was im­por­tant for them to know they were not alone and help was out there.

Waikato Hau­raki Coro­man­del Ru­ral Sup­port Trust chair­man Neil Ba­teup says it’s a great step.

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