Wellbeing at heart of Farmstrong

Wellbeing at heart of Farmstrong


An initiative to promote wellbeing for all farmers and growers across New Zealand has been launched.
Farmstrong, a joint initiative between leading rural insurer FMG and the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), aimed to shift the focus of mental health 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,” FMG chief executive Chris Black said.

“Every farmer’s performance is affected by their level of health, fitness and happiness” said Judi Clements, Mental Health Foundation.

Research showed farmers were great at looking after stock and equipment but often neglected 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 farmers could access practical tools and resources to help 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 would 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,” Black said.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Judi Clements said making small behaviour changes over time could help support big improvements in mental and physical wellbeing.

“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 practise strategies that will improve our mental health.

“Farmstrong will help show farmers how they can do this.”

Farmstrong funding has been provided by FMG and the charity Movember, via the Mental Health Foundation. NZX Agri is the media partner.