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An extra $600,000 to support rural communities

Statement issued by Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, Minister of Health 

For more information about rural health and prevention methods, visit the friendly Waikato DHB health professionals at Fieldays stand number: BLED55

17 June 2016

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have committed another joint funding boost to rural mental health.

Earlier today the Ministers were joined by Prime Minister John Key to announce the $600,000 for Rural Mental Wellness at Fieldays, a continuation of last year’s investment.

“The Government recognises that rural life goes in cycles, with ups and downs. We are committed to supporting our rural communities,” says Dr Coleman.

“The Rural Mental Wellness initiative is the right mix of further raising awareness of mental health issues within rural communities, coupled with practical help to improve the skills of the health professionals who work alongside the rural sector.

“This joint investment will help to ensure we maintain the momentum achieved last year, while also putting a plan in place for the future.”

“The new funding will help to strengthen local networks for farmers, workers and families in rural communities. It will provide more suicide prevention workshops and employ coordinators to work with Rural Support Trusts,” says Mr Guy.

“Farmers and their families are not alone. There is a wide range of good advice and support from organisations like Rural Support Trusts, Farmstrong, and Dairy NZ.

“While this season may be tough for some, it’s important to keep a focus on what we can control and to remember the long term outlook for the dairy sector is bright.”

Media contacts:

Angela Kenealy (Hon Jonathan Coleman) 021 220 0129

Phil Rennie (Hon Nathan Guy) 021 405 443

Notes to Editors:

The second phase of the Rural Mental Wellness initiative, announced today at Fieldays, comprises of $600,000 joint funding from Ministry of Health and the Ministry for Primary Industries. The funding will go towards:

  • Ten more suicide prevention workshops in rural areas not yet covered.
  • The development of a new workshop programme focused on managing suicidal patients in a rural setting.
  • Support the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand’s 15 regional Clinical Champions and Medical Director to continue their work to strengthen linkages and support local initiatives.
  • The Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand will develop a longer-term approach to improving rural mental health outcomes.
  • MPI will work with agencies to upskill 0800 operators so they are better equipped to respond to destressed farmers and their families.
  • MPI will support two part-time coordinators (one in the North Island and one in the South Island) to work in partnership with Rural Support Trusts to strengthen referral networks, raise the profile of Trusts, run community events and deliver further work.

The first phase of the Rural Mental Wellness initiative was announced at Fieldays 2015. The $500,000 joint funding went towards:

  • Recruiting almost 80 new facilitators for the Rural Support Trusts.
  • Ensuring the majority of Rural Support Trusts have designated rural mental health coordinators.
  • Providing mental health training to the facilitators and coordinators.
  • Appointing 15 mental health clinical champions to help improve referral pathways.
  • The Ministry of Health worked with the Rural Health Alliance New Zealand to deliver 42 suicide prevention workshops across rural New Zealand. Around 900 people attended and have been trained, including health professionals, Police, social workers, and school counsellors.
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