Mental health is one of the biggest concerns facing rural New Zealand. We’ve compiled support and resources available to help you and your farming team.
2023 was a tough year for the sector and this inevitably had a knock-on effect for farmers’ mental health. B+LNZ wants to encourage farmers to prioritise their mental health and seek help if they feel they need it.
B+LNZ’s Senior Extension Manager Mark Harris is a strong advocate for supporting rural mental health.
Harris urges farmers to check in with their family, friends and neighbours regularly. “You never know, it could be a life-saving phone call. The rural sector has a strong community aspect to it, we know farmers are keen to support each other.
“If you’re not feeling a hundred percent, pick up the phone and talk to someone. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, there are professionals that can help,” he says. View urgent helplines at the bottom of this page.
Mental Health is something that needs to be continuously prioritised, and it is worth looking at resources and tools not only when you are feeling down or stressed but also in the good times to help with resilience. We’ve compiled a list below of support and resources available to help you and your farming team improve wellbeing.
Industry events and support
The Rural Support Trust (RST) have local, rural people who know from experience that pressures can mount up. Their networks and training can help with all kinds of situations, and help you get through your current challenges. The RST can also help with business planning and other farm support. Talk to someone at your local branch here.
Farmstrong is a nationwide wellbeing programme for the rural community that aims to help farmers live well to farm well. The Farmstrong website is packed with resources and tools to support your wellbeing.
Will To Live’s Rural Change Wellbeing programmes for rural New Zealanders offers a free personalised health professional guide, a funded private counselling session and onboarding to Rural Support Trust for future support.
For those impacted by the cyclones, the Agri-Women’s Development Trust ‘YOU Matter’ programme provides a chance to pause, re-energise and build the skills needed to help your recovery. The 2024 programmes are starting later in February. View the Agri-Women’s Development Trust website for locations and dates.
Need to take a break off farm? For some regions, it’s not too late to head along to a Surfing for Farmers event. Check out the Surfing for Farmers Facebook page for the latest information. B+LNZ is proud to be a national partner of the initiative.
Building resilience resources
Here are some resources developed in working with farmers focused on building resilience:
- Podcast with Tom Fraser podcast: Tactics tight times.
- Podcast with Jack Cocks & Joanne Stevenson: Resilience in the farming business.
- Podcast with Doug Avery: Bouncing forward from a crisis.
- Podcast with Doug Avery: Finding your talents and growing your wellbeing.
- Short video: Building resilience through Catchment Community Groups.
- Webinar video: What’s your vision for resilient hill country futures?
- Video: Build your body and mind. A three-part webinar series to help you look after your greatest farm asset - your body - here, here and here.
Navigating tough financial times
We’re seeing a big uplift in views to B+LNZ resources relating to budgeting. Here’s some resources available to help:
- Advice for navigating tough financial times.
- E-learning module to help you with your annual cash budgets and monthly cash flows.
- Podcast with George Collier: "Managing cash and feed to get through tough financial times".
- Use the B+LNZ profitability calculator – take your annual accounts (or estimates if comparing a more recent season) and benchmark your profitability with other farms in your region and farm class. To dig into more Farm Class and regional data, B+LNZ produces benchmarking reports that detail physical and financial figures.
- Feed budgeting and management.
- BizPlan: an online template to create your own farm business plan.
- Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
- Lifeline 0800 543 354 or 09 522 2999 or free text 4357 (HELP)
- Suicide Prevention Helpline 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOK0)
- Youthline 0800 376 633 or free text 234
- Samaritans 0800 726 666
- Rural Support Trust - rural people helping rural people 0800 787 254