by Murray Robertson
A booklet promoting the mental health and wellbeing of Tairawhiti’s rural communities was launched at the Matawhero saleyards yesterday.
Every household in the region’s rural areas, from Potaka at East Cape down to the Wairoa district, will receive a copy of Live Well Farm Well in the mail next week.
The booklet has been produced by the East Coast Rural Support Trust, which encompasses the East Coast, Gisborne and Wairoa.
Support trust chair Neil McLaren said in his opening remarks in the publication that the trust had for the past few years recognised a need to promote mental health and wellbeing for rural people.
“This publication is to inform farmers, their families and their communities that support is available.
“This support comes in the shape of family, friends, neighbours and professional people who care and who can help when you feel stressed or depressed,” Mr McLaren said, “(or) when you suffer from grief, and when you feel as if you cannot find a way through your problems.
“I thank all those people who had the courage to stand up and tell their stories about what they went through in dealing with their situations.”
The 12-page booklet discusses stress, the warning signs, what causes it and what can be done about it.
The “saltwater camaraderie” experienced in the Surfing for Farmers initiative driven by Stephen Thomson is covered, as is the funding efforts of Campion College students Nathan Proctor and Luke Hurlstone last year.
How to reduce feelings of depression and who to call is covered, along with the work of Turanga Health’s mobile health clinic.
The role Farming Women Tairawhiti has been playing to support and develop rural women is discussed.
Clinical psychologist Marty Ferreira talks about building resilience to bounce back quickly from difficult events.
Farmstrong has a section, along with the work of Taskforce Green in the wake of last June’s storms, and Mokairau Station farmer Peter Reeves has some input.
People like Pania and Eugene King, the Ahuwhenua Trophy winners from Motu; Sefton Alexander from Wai Station at Nuhaka; grape grower and former mayor John Clarke; and highly successful Ngatapa farmers Amanda and Hamish Cave talk about what works for them in balancing life and work.
The booklet also addresses the signs of suicide and how people in that mindset can be helped.
The intent of the booklet is summed up with the advice, “To farm well, you need to live well.”