Rural mental health on the radar

Waitaki news
Monday, June 15, 2015

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean is welcoming a cash injection to boost mental health initiatives that target rural communities.

The Ministry of Health and Ministry of Primary Industries have combined resources to make a one-off investment of $500,000. A programme will be developed that has both national and local components. It's expected to focus on promotion, prevention and early intervention of rural mental health issues.

Jacqui Dean says the investment is needed. "I often drive around the back roads of this electorate and talk with farmers about many issues including the stresses and stains they encounter as part of their work and lifestyle.

"The farmland in this region is vast and diverse so isolation is a very real issue and being reliant on the land and Mother Nature creates different pressures to those living in town.

"Farming is vital to the economy of this country so it's in everyone's interest for good support services to be in place. Those on the land spend so much of their time tending to stock or crop that their own wellbeing tends to go on the back-burner - just knowing that support is there when needed gives peace of mind."

The funding will improve the coordination of existing outreach services, and develop new support programmes and resources for those farmers and communities in great need.