Wellbeing workshops launched

At the inaugural Grow Us Well workshop in Otautau last month are (from left) Rural Support...
At the inaugural Grow Us Well workshop in Otautau last month are (from left) Rural Support Southland wellness co-ordinator Rachael Nicholson, dairy farmer and attendee Michael Prankerd, Livemewell wellbeing coach Sam McBride and dairy farmer and attendee Jason Herrick, of Mossburn. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A spate of suicides in rural Southland led to a series of workshops to equip rural men with the tools to maintain their wellbeing and mental fitness.

Rural Support Southland wellness co-ordinator Rachael Nicholson, of Riversdale, said the inaugural Grow Us Well workshop was a success in Otautau on March 19.

A series of workshops were launched in response to deaths in western and southern Southland last year.

"We had a lot of suicides and a lot of young men were at rock-bottom and we had quite a lot of people contacting us who needed counselling. I don’t like getting those calls at the bottom of the cliff and I wanted to do something for our young rural people to give them some tools to help them so they don’t get to that point."

The 13 men at the first workshop were dairy and sheep and beef farmers.

Some farmers brought their male staff to the workshop.

"It is a great way to look after your staff," she said.

She would have liked more men to have attended the first workshop but she was "thrilled" by those who made time to attend and hoped they would spread the word about the remaining workshops.

Livemewell wellbeing coach Sam McBride, of Te Anau, led the workshops.

A topic of the first workshop is how to build the four key walls of health.

For a workshop exercise the men walk in a line across a rugby field and are given questions to spark discussion.

Many vowed they would aim to communicate better, get more sleep, be more self aware and keep a gratitude diary.

"It was really cool a lot of the comments were similar and positive," she said.

Two more workshops were scheduled at Otautau Sports Complex.

The theme of the second workshop on May 7 was tools to grow a better mind and body

For the final workshop on June 4, the theme would explore ways to perform better, grow resilience and build purpose.

Rural Support was subsidising the workshops, reducing each session fee to $25, which includes food.

Food served at the first workshop includes roast lamb, salads and healthy snacks.

"Eating well is part of the course and everyone commented how they enjoyed the food."

Need help?

Rural Support

0800 787-254

Need to talk? 1737, free 24/7 phone and text number

Healthline: 0800 611-116

Lifeline Aotearoa: 0800 543-354

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828-865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

Samaritans: 0800 726-666

Alcohol Drug Helpline: 0800 787-797

General mental health inquiries: 0800 443-366

The Depression Helpline: 0800 111-757



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