Farmstrong

Our Work / Farmstrong

Farmstrong helps farmers look after the most important asset on their farms - themselves.

AG 9448 4

Farmstrong is all about Healthy Thinking for farmers. The programme is a joint initiative between the Mental Health Foundation and leading rural insurer FMG with strategic partner ACC.

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

As part of Farmstrong, there is a series of Healthy Thinking workshops, delivered and facilitated by Dr Tom Mulholland from the Healthy Thinking Institute. Tom asks about techniques to help farmers understand emotional alarms, strategies to manage emotions and accounts from others regarding their experiences in a farming business.

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.

As well as the Healthy Thinking workshops initiative, Farmstrong will this year run a Fit-4-Farming rural cycle tour, which also includes walking and running. Farmstrong will also have a tent at Mystery Creek Field Days in Hamilton from 10 to 13 June.   

Farmstrong also helps 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 workshops, and the Farmstrong Fit4Farming Cycle Tour.

For more information, please contact Colin Wright on 0274 129 200 or Sophie Lowery on 022 131 9982 or email media@farmstrong.co.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.

Contact:
Sophie Lowery
09 632 4810
022 131 9982
sophie.lowery@mentalhealth.org.nz