Time for a chat for farm­ing peo­ple

Bush Telegraph - - Focus On Farming - By STEVE CARLE´

A se­ries of Good Yarn work­shops is be­ing hosted by Tararua Dairy Women’s Network. They have teamed up with East Coast Ru­ral Sup­port Trust which pays for the work­shops.

They are de­signed for small groups of 15-20 peo­ple and take around 2.5 hours.

“They are to help farm­ers and those who come into con­tact with farm­ers reg­u­larly to talk about men­tal well­be­ing and to recog­nise signs of stress,” says Jane Tylee of East Coast Ru­ral Sup­port Trust.

“Recog­nis­ing signs of stress and get­ting to know com­mon men­tal health prob­lems and get­ting in­for­ma­tion on how to talk to some­one about men­tal health and strate­gies to guide them to­wards ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port are cov­ered in the work­shops.

“Farm­ing ex­poses a lot of peo­ple to stress: long work­ing hours, M. bo­vis, fi­nance, weather, iso­la­tion and lack of con­nec­tiv­ity.”

Dairy Women’s Network re­gional lead­ers for Tararua, Pene­lope Drys­dale and Sarah Gibb, ran the first work­shop in April at the Nireaha Hall with Tararua Vets spon­sor­ing the cater­ing. Next work­shop is on June 13 at Fon­terra in Pahiatua with cater­ing spon­sored by Bis­set Honda. Then on June 20 a work­shop will be held at The Hub in Dan­nevirke, spon­sored by Dan­nevirke Vet Ser­vices.

“Sarah and I saw a real need within our re­gion of farm­ers to give them more sup­port. We’ve run a se­ries of other events to as­sist women in their day to day role on the farm and this was just an­other branch of it to en­cour­age the hus­bands to at­tend. Ru­ral pro­fes­sion­als, work­ers and any­one within the ru­ral com­mu­nity are wel­come. Its not just spe­cific to women,” said Pene­lope.

“It’s in­clu­sive of ev­ery­one, neigh­bours, friends, fam­ily, who­ever is in the ru­ral com­mu­nity that can ben­e­fit from it. With ev­ery­thing that’s go­ing on in dairy and the agri­cul­tural in­dus­try at the mo­ment, it’s prov­ing to be very stress­ful for a lot of peo­ple. So we’re just try­ing to wrap ev­ery­one with as much sup­port as we can and just mak­ing ev­ery­one aware of it. And its not that big taboo sub­ject to talk about. It can be some­thing that ev­ery­one’s com­fort­able to talk about and en­sure that their neigh­bours and work­ers are ac­tu­ally cop­ing ok.

“The more peo­ple that know this stuff in the ru­ral com­mu­nity, the bet­ter. The peo­ple that don’t come to th­ese work­shops are the peo­ple we want there. And of course farm­ers do like a free lunch — they can have a re­ally nice lunch and learn some amaz­ing skills,” said Pene­lope.

Sarah Gibb thinks ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple to look for signs in neigh­bours and them­selves is a pri­or­ity.

“The work­shops are a way for all of us to show the com­mu­nity that we’re all look­ing out for each other and that if we don’t know ev­ery­thing, we can point peo­ple to­wards Ru­ral Sup­port Trust, which di­rects peo­ple to the right sources and area of need for their con­cerns. We’re build­ing a strong re­la­tion­ship with the Ru­ral Sup­port Trust. We’re try­ing to live to our val­ues of Women’s Dairy Network — in­clu­sion, stand tall to­gether — by col­lab­o­rat­ing with other or­gan­i­sa­tions,” she said.

Pene­lope Drys­dale en­cour­ages peo­ple to come along in a re­ally wel­com­ing, com­fort­able en­vi­ron­ment.

“Don’t be scared, be­cause we’re all here to help,” she says.

‘The peo­ple that don’t come to th­ese work­shops are the peo­ple we want there.’

PENE­LOPE DRYS­DALE, TARARUA DAIRY WOMEN’S NETWORK RE­GIONAL LEADER

■ To con­tact Ru­ral Sup­port Trust phone 0800 787 254.

From left, Pene­lope Drys­dale, Jane Tylee and Sarah Gibb.

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