Looking after our Farmers


MY14_F_farmersWe all love summer – lazy days in the sunshine, at the beach, swimming in our rivers, leisurely gin and tonics on the patio. It’s bliss for all of us except our farmers.

Spare a thought for the impact on them, their business and their animals while we enjoy endless days with no rain.

Recent media reports of farmers under stress due to dry conditions and reduced dairy payouts has led to Dr Rob Weir, MidCentral DHB’s Medical Officer of Health, to call for people to access help if they are experiencing tough times.

When there is a drought and reduced income there is often no quick fix. The long term stress and anxiety this brings can put a real strain on mental wellbeing. This in turn may lead to depression.

Dr Weir said: “Talking it through can really help — there is no shame in seeking professional help. There is always help available but it’s knowing where to get it when you need it.

“Sometimes people who need extra support do not receive it. The first step is to recognise when to seek help.”

Dr Weir said it is time to seek help if you or someone you know has experienced some of the following for a two-week period:

Often feeling down, depressed or hopeless

  • Having little interest or pleasure in doing things you used to enjoy
  • Often feeling worried or anxious. Anxiety may show up as physical symptons like pain, a pounding heart or stomach cramps
  • Low self esteem
  • Loss of energy or feeling tired
  • Finding it hard to concentrate or make decisions
  • Feelings of emptiness or loneliness
  • Thinking about death
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • A change in appetite or weight loss or gain.

Help is available through many sources including:

  • Your G.P.
  • Primary Mental Health Services, Central PHO – (06) 354 9107
  • Community Mental Health Services – 0800 653 357
  • Your Iwi Provider
  • Counsellors (see Yellow Pages)
  • Manchester House — (ask for Rural Support Worker) (06) 323 7191
  • Rural Support Trust — 0800 787 254
  • Helplines:
    • Depression helpline – 0800 111 757
    • Mensline — 0800 636 754
    • Lifeline – 0800 543 354
  • Web: www.depression.org.nz

Dr Weir said: “If you or someone you know has some of the symptoms listed I urge you to seek help.”