Farmstrong Looking After New Zealand Farmer Mental Health

NEW ZEALAND – A mental health initiative has been launched to proactively work towards farmer wellbeing rather than reacting to stress and anger.
calendar icon 9 September 2015
clock icon 1 minute read

Launched in June, Farmstrong is a partnership between the Mental Health Foundation and rural insurer FMG, aimed at addressing the common causes of both “healthy and unhealthy emotions”.

Two key elements of the programme are how people react to issues, promoting the “healthy thinking” approach, and an emphasis on physical fitness.

Farmstrong project manager, Gerard Vaughan, said: “When designing the programme farmers told us they have all these systems in place to look after machinery and the wellbeing of stock but not necessarily themselves.”

Farmstrong allows people to pledge to engage in physical exercise online, along the thinking that many farmers aren’t as active as they were and publicly made commitments are stuck to.

Explaining the theory of “healthy thinking, he said: “The whole idea is that the way you think about things that crop up can produce healthy or unhealthy emotions.

“It's a tool you can use as part of your daily life. It teaches a choice; how you respond and think about a situation. It’s a very practical, usable tool.”

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