New wellbeing programme for farmers launched

News / New wellbeing programme for farmers launched

New wellbeing programme for farmers launched

3 Jun, 2015

MEDIA RELEASE

Farmstrong, a new initiative to promote wellbeing for all farmers and growers across New Zealand is being launched today.

The programme is a joint initiative between leading rural insurer FMG and the Mental Health Foundation (MHF).

Farmstrong will help shift the focus of mental health from depression and illness to one of wellbeing. In its first year Farmstrong will aim to make a positive difference to the lives of 1,000 farmers.

“Farmstrong will help to highlight that farmers are the most important asset on the farm and that by taking proactive steps to look after their mental and physical heath, they’re better prepared to run their business and support their family, staff and community,” says Chris Black chief executive of FMG.

Research shows that farmers are great at looking after stock and equipment but often neglect their own needs. In a recent online survey farmers identified wellbeing and quality of life as being top of mind and said they wanted more information on how to look after themselves.

Through www.farmstrong.co.nz farmers can access practical tools and resources that will help them take care of themselves, with information on topics such as nutrition, managing fatigue, exercise, the importance of getting off the farm and coping with pressure.

Farmstrong will also help farmers connect with each other and share experiences via its social media channels, through regional farmer ambassadors and by attending local events such as Dr Tom Mulholland’s Healthy Thinking workshops, and the Farmstrong Fit4Farming Cycle Tour.

“In the same way that farmers have a system for milking cows or shearing sheep for example, they need a practical system to keep themselves in good shape too. By having this they’ll likely feel better, improve productivity, and be better prepared to handle the ups and downs of farming,” says Mr Black.

“Just making small behaviour changes over a period of time can help support big improvements in our mental and physical wellbeing,” says Judi Clements, chief executive Mental Health Foundation.

“Every farmer’s performance is affected by their level of health, fitness and happiness. We’re not born knowing how to maintain these – we need to actively practice strategies that will improve our mental health. Farmstrong will help show farmers how they can do this,” says Ms Clements.

Farmstrong funding has been provided by FMG and the charity Movember, via the Mental Health Foundation.

“As a catalytic funder of men’s health programmes globally, the Movember Foundation is a proud co-funder of this groundbreaking collaborative programme. We believe Farmstrong is an innovative and powerful programme that will build on the strength of NZ farmers and their community,” says Robert Dunne NZ Country Director, Movember Foundation.

ENDS

For more information, please contact Colin Wright 0274 129 200 or: Sophia Graham 021 740 454 or email media@farmstrong.co.nz

Visit Farmstrong:

Web: www.farmstrong.co.nz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FarmstrongNZ
Twitter: @Farmstrong_NZ  

Key points

  • Farmstrong is a non-commercial give back initiative which has been founded by rural insurer FMG and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand, with funding support from the Movember Foundation.
  • Farmstrong will help shift the focus of mental health in rural communities from depression and illness to one of wellbeing. 
  • Farmstrong will help to highlight that farmers are the most important asset on the farm and that by taking proactive steps to look after their mental and physical heath, they’re better prepared to run their business and support their family, staff and community.
  • Farmstrong is its own brand and is launching with a website, and a social media presence. It also includes two programmes – Dr Tom Mulholland’s Healthy Thinking Workshops and the Farmstrong Fit4Farming Cycle Tour.
  • Farmstrong is based on extensive research on the wellbeing of farmers and farming communities. This research identified wellbeing and quality of life as being top of mind for farmers who also said they wanted more information on how to look after themselves and their families.
  • This research included surveying over 400 farmers, interviewing farmers face-to-face and further desk based analysis and scientific findings around wellbeing.
  • Farmstrong is about maintaining wellness rather than focusing on illness and depression and in that respect it’s different to other support programmes for farmers.
  • Farmstrong will give farmers access to advice on topics such as nutrition, fitness, sleep, managing fatigue, building mental and physical resilience, strengthening links with family and community and scheduling time off the farm. 
  • Farmers will also be encouraged to connect face-to-face through the Dr Tom Mulholland Healthy Thinking Workshops and the Farmstrong Fit4Farming Cycle Tour
  • Over the next 12 months, Dr Tom will visit regional towns and give a two day Healthy Thinking Workshop to selected farmers. On the third day spent in these locations. Dr Tom will host events, such as a breakfast meeting or on-farm event for farmers in that region who would like to know more about Healthy Thinking. These workshops and events will be free
  • The Fit4Farming Cycle Tour will begin early 2016 and will travel from the Waikato in the North Island through to Invercargill. 
  • Leading up to the tour, farmers will be able to ‘pledge kilometres’ via the Farmstrong website. Farmers will then be encouraged to cycle, run or walk the distance they commit to, to help achieve the collective goal of riding 4 million kilometres in 12 months. More details of the cycle tour including the tour dates and locations can be found at www.farmstrong.co.nz 
  • Farmstrong will have a presence at this year’s National Agricultural Fieldays site E34.