Getting farmers talking: 'Speak Up' mental health campaign kicks off North Island tour

A series of events which encourages young farming men and women to get together and talk about their mental health kicks off its North Island tour tonight.

The 'Speak Up' tour is part of the 'Will to Live' mental health campaign and was launched last year, in memory of a young shepherd named Will, who took his own life.

It was the brainchild of the 21-year-old's girlfriend, Elle Perriam.

The 'Speak Up' tour was funded by a PledgeMe campaign, and starts a seven-location North Island tour tonight in Wairarapa.

The awareness campaign was started after Elle Perriam lost her 21-year-old boyfriend, Will  to suicide.
The awareness campaign was started after Elle Perriam lost her 21-year-old boyfriend, Will to suicide. Photo credit: Supplied

Perriam said the idea for the campaign came after the death of Will last year which was unexpected and devastating.

"We put our heads together and thought what is this demographic not getting out of the mental health system?" she said.

She said it was challenging for those in rural areas to get help.

"Counselling is not easy to access in rural areas, and it can take weeks to get appointments," she said.

The idea was inspired by the death of young North Otago shepherd.
The idea was inspired by the death of young North Otago shepherd. Photo credit: Supplied

"It is also hard to get days off in the middle of lambing or shearing."

The  'Speak Up' tour includes the change to talk about mental wellness with experts and those who have experienced depression.

The events are described as a casual evening of talks and tips on the topic of getting through the tough times while living in isolation, and how to navigate the storms together as a community."

"Bring your dogs, enjoy the feed, "share a beer or raspberry & coke, and make sure to show of your dance moves with the local live band."

Getting farmers talking: 'Speak Up' mental health campaign kicks off North Island tour
Photo credit: Supplied

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