Wellbeing initiatives for rural New Zealand
Every 15 hours someone in New Zealand takes their own life.
It’s a sobering fact, and one that we can all agree needs immediate attention.
Research shows that those living in rural communities can be at a heightened risk of developing or suffering from depression. This is due to a number of factors including isolation, their place in the community, the feeling of having choices, and being able to access quality treatment and support when it’s needed.
When those things disappear, so too can the desire to keep living.
It’s not a small group we’re talking about either – New Zealand’s rural population consists of around 600,000 people, a population that together would be New Zealand’s second largest city behind Auckland.
However, the population doesn’t get the same level of access to mental health services as New Zealand’s big cities. In fact, of the $24 million spent on primary mental health services by the New Zealand Government, only $500,000 has been specifically allotted to rural mental health initiatives.
George McHardy, Managing Director of Grochem – a leading plant growth regulator, nutrition, fungicide and insecticide supplier in New Zealand and Australia, says rural New Zealanders need more support and wants growers and workers in the horticulture sector to be well represented.
“Although growers make up a small population in relation to the rest of New Zealand’s rural community, it’s important that they have access to support and representation.
“Mental wellbeing isn’t one of the first things that come to mind when we think about advocacy for growers, but with the current devastating rate of suicide in this country, it’s important that we shed some light on this and ensure growers are getting good information and support.”
That’s when Mr McHardy heard Michelle Thompson present at a rural sector conference and saw an opportunity to make an impact.
Ms Thompson is the chief executive of the Rural Health
- Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RH ANZ), an organisation that advocates for, and on behalf of, 49 member organisations to provide solutions and influence policy that affects the health and wellbeing of rural communities.
Mr McHardy said Ms Thompson’s presentation was covering
- RHANZ’s five key initiatives of their Rural Health Road Map, and one particular aspect caught his attention – rural wellbeing.
- “RHANZ is calling for the Government to implement its mental health and addictions framework for rural New Zealanders. It really resonated with me and I knew it was important for Grochem to get behind it.
“And it’s important for businesses like us to give back into our communities, especially those that directly impact the success of our business. By supporting them, they support us.”
Ms Thompson said Grochem really walked the talk by exploring how they could be involved, and is thrilled to have
- them on as the latest Strategic Supporter of RH ANZ.
“We were most excited about having Grochem coming onboard as there is a lot of opportunity for us to impact the horticulture sector in a really positive way. Having a supplier in the industry join us is how we can make a difference in more of New Zealand’s rural pockets.
“Grochem’s funding support will be used over the next 12 months to progress the priorities of our Rural Health Road Map, with a special focus on our rural mental health initiatives.”
- The Rural Health Road Map is RH ANZ’s plan for supporting and growing healthy rural communities in New Zealand. The road map focuses on achieving five goals.
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
Rural New Zealand is vital to the whole country. In order to keep New Zealand healthy, we need our rural community to be healthy. You can show your
- support and help RHANZ to advocate so that rural New Zealand, and our growers, are not overlooked at the national level during strategic planning for health service options and social services provision.
- To learn more about what RHANZ visit www.rhaanz.org.nz