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Stress and depression unwelcome visitors after recent events

Stress and depression unwelcome visitors after recent weather events

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) is concerned that as rural people clean up after the disastrous floods, and snow, their resilience and resourcefulness will be challenged by overwhelming distress. For farming families in more remote areas their sense of isolation will become acute resulting in anxiety and depression. It is a problem that will go beyond the farm gate.

“However, it will be women who will put their own well-being on hold, ensuring their partners’ cope.” Says Health Portfolio spokesperson Margaret Pittaway. “This is not new, research shows that rural women play a major role in achieving resilience in rural communities beginning in the family home, and yet at the same time are vulnerable given their distance from neighbours and support. This vulnerability will extend beyond the disaster as partners have difficulty getting their lives back to normal.”

Rural Women New Zealand encourages GPs and mental health teams to check on the well-being of the carer, the partner of the person who has come into their care. “And to remember that stress and anxiety won’t wash down the drain along with the melting snow, floodwaters and silt. It may continue for many months becoming even more acute as time goes on”, says Ms Pittaway, “Ongoing pastoral care will be essential.”

Rural Women New Zealand has a Community Fund to provide financial assistance to where there is an identified urgent need. The grant may be awarded to assist families in time of natural disaster such as the floods and snows, or to assist an individual with a specific need. For more information email

Additional resources:

Depression Helpline 0800 111 757
It is Ok to Ask for Help 0800 456 450


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