Dealing with drought stress

Parched farmland beside State Highway 85 near Sutton. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Parched farmland beside State Highway 85 near Sutton. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Drought affects the whole family - not just the farmer.

That is the message from a rural woman who has first hand experience of depression, following the recent declaration of drought for large swathes of the South Island.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said there would be hidden stress in partners and children, along with an impact on staff.

Families had to sit down and openly discuss the drought and the ''way ahead'' and partners should to openly share concerns.

Asking for support or sharing concerns with a trusted family member or friend could also be very valuable.

In addition, it was important to keep in contact with neighbours as ''everyone'' was experiencing the effects of the drought.

''In rural New Zealand, during times of stress, it is so easy to isolate oneself. At these times, it is so important to get off farm; do family things and get together with friends.''

Free workshops for people living in rural communities, on how to identify and manage stress, are being held next month.

The Rural Life: Keeping the Balance workshop was developed by the Southern Primary Health Organisation. Workshops will be held at Omakau on March 2, Oamaru on March 3, Kurow on March 4 and Roxburgh on March 27.

The workshops will be delivered by Lindsay Wright, from Wendonside, who is co ordinator of the Southland Rural Support Trust. He is a former farmer with first hand experience of stress in the rural sector, having experienced depression himself.

A Beef and Lamb New Zealand Central Otago farming for profit dry relief ''afternoon out'' will be held today at the Millers Flat hall from 4pm and tomorrow at the Oturehua Hall, with cricketing personality Warren Lees as guest speaker.


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