Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have announced a $500,000 funding boost to support mental health initiatives targeted at rural communities.
“Rural depression is a significant issue. The physical isolation, as well as the uncertainties of being reliant on the land, creates different pressures to those living in an urban setting,” says Dr Coleman.
“The Ministry of Health and Ministry for Primary Industries have each contributed $250,000 to the one-off funding boost.
“Health will be working closely with MPI to develop a programme that has both national and local components.
“While the details are still being worked through I expect the programme will focus on the promotion, prevention and early intervention of rural mental health issues.”
“This extra funding is recognition of the importance of farmers and their family wellbeing during challenging times. This year is a tough one for many with the ongoing drought on the east coast of the South Island and high volatility in commodity prices,” says Mr Guy.
“The funding will improve the coordination of existing outreach services, and develop new support programmes and resources for those farmers and communities in great need.
“Farmers are really good at looking after the land, animals and machinery, but they aren’t traditionally as good at looking after themselves.
“It is very important for farmers and their families to realise they are not alone and help is out there. There is a wide range of good advice and support from organisations like Rural Support Trusts, Farmstrong, and Dairy NZ.”
The Ministers made the announcement at the Farmer’s Big Breakfast this morning at Fieldays. USB sticks and a range of material was handed out to attendees containing information about a range of help and support available.