Increased rural health training in bid to tackle depression

  • 23/08/2015
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman (File)
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman (File)

An initiative to tackle mental health issues in rural communities is being highlighted by the ministers overseeing it.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today announced increased training for rural health professionals and community leaders to tackle depression.

It's part of the one-off $500,000 funding boost for mental health initiatives targeted at rural communities announced at the Fieldays event held in Waikato in June.

The Ministry of Health will work with Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand and district health boards (DHBs) to provide about 40 training workshops around the country, and clinical champions will be identified and appointed, the ministers said in a statement.

"Raising awareness of mental health issues in rural communities is important, but you also need the professional support with the right skills to help those who are at risk," Dr Coleman said.

Mr Guy said that while some farms were facing a tough season, the medium to long-term outlook for the primary sector was bright.

A slump in milk prices this year has prompted dairy co-operative Fonterra to slash its forecast payout to farmers and spurred the Reserve Bank to start cutting interest rates in June.