News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Depression in Rural Communities a Concern


16 January 2013

Depression in Rural Communities a Concern

With a disproportionate number of suicides in the rural sector, Federated Farmers is calling for a proactive approach to solve the problem.

Hawke’s Bay farmer and the province’s Dairy Chairperson, David Hunt, has experienced depression first hand. He knows just how frightening and lonely it can be. Here is his story:

“A farmer suicide recently compelled me to come forward, as I have great respect for what John Kirwan has done for mental health and I wanted to share my experience to help farmers. What helped me accept my depression were the people opening up to me about theirs. There is no shame in it, depression is a hereditary illness that causes a chemical imbalance in your brain, there’s no choosing what illness you get,” he says

“Depression affected me to the point that I couldn’t physically work for 12 months. I was incapable of driving a motor vehicle let alone running my farm, at my worst I was living on three hours sleep a night. The tiny little things become a real issue for me and I battled to get through each day.

“Farmers can be their own worst enemies, we struggle to let people in or ask for help. Working in isolation makes the problem harder to identify. With the stigma around depression I didn’t want to admit I had a problem, let alone take medication.

“By the time I sought help, my original doctor had left the practice so I ended up seeing several different locums all offering me different advice because they didn’t know me. There seems to be a shortage of resources in the rural health sector to cope with the problem.

“We need to do something about this. More people take their lives through depression than road accidents, but we are not talking about it. If we don’t address the increasing numbers of rural suicides, we are letting farmers down.

“If you think someone is struggling, be brave, pick up the phone, knock on the door or find someone who has a rapport with that person to help. At least you tried.”

Federated Farmers – Jeanette Maxwell – Health Spokesperson

Recently released Statistic New Zealand figures show there are significantly more rural suicides per population than in urban areas.

The most recent suicide rate for people living in rural areas is 16 per 100,000 people compared to 11.2 for every 100,000 people living in urban areas.

While there is a lot of fantastic work already being done to address depression on a national scale, Federated Farmers believes more resources need to be invested to address rural mental wellbeing.

Federated Farmers is trialing an initiative to get people talking about depression, with the aim of removing the stigma around the problem, and helping people get help when they need it.

The Federation’s Health Spokesperson, Jeanette Maxwell believes there needs to be a targeted strategy for approaching depression in the farming sector.

“We need to have an ambulance at the top of the cliff not just at the bottom,” she says.

“Like any healthy community we need our neighbours and our friends to watch out for us, and reach out to those we recognise are struggling. Rural mental health services need better resources to provide a more accessible response, with some regions facing a three month waiting list to see a rural mental health professional.”

“In the face of mounting compliance costs, increased local and central government demands, weather events, coupled with the reduced forecasted lamb and milk pay-outs, along with the normal stresses and strains of life, things are only going to get harder for rural communities”.

“The reality is rural people can get depressed. In a more isolated work environment the challenges, to get better, can be more difficult. We need to work together with the people who are already trying to make a difference to ensure that when rural people need help and support they get it,” Mrs. Maxwell says.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Kiwi Pride: Accolades For Film About Man Who Falls In Love With A Stick

A short animated film written and directed by New Zealand born Matthew Darragh has been selected for the Courts des îles, International Festival of Short Fiction Films. More>>

ALSO:

Anniversaries: Vivid Memories Four Years After Christchurch Quake

Four years ago, an earthquake that would change the lives of thousands shook Christchurch at 12.51 p.m. More>>

ALSO:

Environment 'n' Conservation: Slash Meets Tāne The Tuatara

Rock and Roll superstar and former Guns 'n' Roses guitarist Slash visited Zealandia Ecosanctuary along with collaborating band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. More>>

Foo Fighters: Exclusive Show In Support Of Music Foundation

Frontier Touring has today announced that the Foo Fighters will play a last minute intimate and exclusive benefit show at the Auckland Town Hall this Friday February 20 with all profits going to The New Zealand Music Foundation. More>>

ALSO:

Canterbury Quakes: Feedback Sought On Short-Listed Memorial Designs

Six short-listed designs for the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial have been released for public input... The Memorial will honour the victims of Canterbury’s earthquakes and acknowledge the suffering of all those who lived through them as well as the heroism of those who participated in the rescue and recovery operations. More>>

ALSO:

Celia Lashlie: Legacy Will Live On

Social justice advocate Celia Lashlie leaves a legacy that will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of New Zealanders for years to come, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Celia was a powerful voice for reason, sense and compassion. Her work, particularly with teenage boys, was ground-breaking." More>>

ALSO:

Obituary: Sad Farewell To PPTA Activist Robin Duff

Duff has been a long-time fixture of the association... Most recently Duff has been working hard to support Canterbury teachers through the quakes that devastated the region. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news