Boost for rural mental health support
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‘‘People can become quite withdrawn and won’t be as sociable as they once were,’’ he said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.