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Bootcamp targets mental wellbeing of young farmers

A NEW initiative has been funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to help improve the wellbeing of young people in rural communities.

NZ Young Farmers has been allocated $40,000 to organise events in seven regional areas featuring guest speakers, activities, and skill-building sessions.

One of those sessions will be held in Gisborne next Wednesday.

“It is important we continue our efforts to give people the skills to look after their wellbeing, manage stress and to recognise and openly talk about mental health,” says MPI's director of rural communities and farming support Nick Story.

NZ Young Farmers has a network of 70 clubs, which provide an opportunity for young people to make friends, network, upskill and socialise.

One of the wellbeing events being held is a six-week bootcamp at Longburn in the Manawatu starting on June 8.

“Winter is a great time for a bootcamp to help build farmers' fitness ahead of calving and lambing, which is a busy time on-farm,” says NZ Young Farmers member Kate Stewart.

“It also gives us an opportunity to share wellbeing tips, such as nutritional advice, to help our rural community get through.”

The training programme is being overseen by young Taranaki dairy farmer Kane Brisco, who is well-known for founding the Farm Fit bootcamp.

As well as the Longburn event, others are planned for Kaihu, Opuawhanga, Waiharara, Hamilton, Gisborne, Pahiatua, Lincoln, Timaru and Gore.

“The mental and physical wellbeing of young people is a big focus of our organisation and essential for the ongoing viability of many rural communities,” says NZ Young Farmers chief executive Lynda Coppersmith.

“This programme will increase awareness of the wellbeing support and resources available, and give young people the confidence to access them.”

Provisional figures released by the Chief Coroner show 654 people died in New Zealand from suicide in 2019-20, and almost one third (205 people) were under the age of 30.

The events will harness the resources and expertise of existing wellbeing support providers, such as Farmstrong, Rural Support Trusts, and the award-winning Good Yarn workshops.

MPI was allocated $1.1 million last year to deliver extra wellbeing support services over three years to complement those provided by Rural Support Trusts.

At the time The Herald went to print there was no further information available on the Gisborne event.