Coronavirus: Stressed farmers encouraged to 'pick up the phone'

A mental health advocate says it's more important than ever for farmers to reach out if they are struggling during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Primary industries, which includes many farmers and growers and associated support businesses, have been deemed as essential to continue during the lockdown.

However it has meant that many events and facilities used by those who live in isolated areas, including sports clubs and pubs, have been closed.

Project lead for Farmstrong, a wellbeing programme for farmers, Gerard Vaughan said a change in mindset could be a useful tool.

"Focus on the things that matter and the things you can control, tune into what's good in your world," Vaughan told Rural Exchange.

"Focus on the things that matter and the things you can control, " said Farmstrong's  Gerard Vaughan.
"Focus on the things that matter and the things you can control, " said Farmstrong's Gerard Vaughan. Photo credit: Supplied

He said when there was added stress and negativity, it was important to be proactive.

"Hunt for the good things in your world, what are the good things that are still happening. What makes you feel good, where are the good people and conversations."

Those in rural communities should also not be shy about asking for help or support.

"What I am hearing is that farmers are saying, just pick up the phone.

"Keeping those important relationships and seeking out people who can support you, and who you can support is key.

"This is the time to be proactive and reach out, don't be shy."

Concentrating on farm routines was also important at times of stress to avoid accidents, he said. 

If you are feeling stressed, go back to the simple routines around safety which we forget when we are stressed."

"Keep things as normal as possible but be as flexible as possible in that."

 

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