Men’s Health Week provides a timely opportunity to remind growers and other members of our rural communities about the importance of taking a break, to stay fit, fresh and healthy.
Australia’s two peak grain grower groups – Grain Producers Australia and GrainGrowers – are backing this approach, as part of their mental health partnership with Nufarm, Rural Aid and Lifeline, featuring Australian cricketing legend, Brad Hogg, as the program’s National Ambassador.
Last week Brad attended the Elders Farmfest field days in Toowoomba, where he spoke with AgForce members about a key aim of this year’s initiative, to reinforce the value of taking a break.
“Whether it’s a short drinks break, where you can grab a beer, it’s important to go visit the neighbour and catch up and talk about things,” Brad said.
“You can have a bit of humour (to lighten up the mood), but then you can also bring up the stuff that’s hard in the area at the moment and the troubles that you’re going through.
“It’s important to take your short breaks but after you’ve had a long season you’ve got to make sure that you take a week if you can, or a two-week break, to take you and your family away.
“You might have things in the back of your mind, but you just have to say, ‘I’m going to spend an hour here just making sure I’ve got everything sorted on the farm and then for the rest of the day focus on the family’.
“Sometimes you might just have a three-day break, but those three days could be the most important three days of the year where you get right away from it all and really catch up on those relationships that are most important to you.”
Pic: Brad Hogg with AgForce members last week, speaking about a key aim of this year’s initiative, to reinforce the value of taking a break.
The Farmer Mates Mental Health initiative enables Brad to share his story and important messages, attending field day events shared with GPA’s State Members throughout Australia, along with professional support provided by members of Rural Aid’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Team.
Nufarm Australia Commercial General Manager, Peter O’Keeffe, said his company welcomed GrainGrowers recently joining the team to support GPA’s initiative and work with Brad, to improve mental health awareness and suicide prevention in rural areas.
“This shows we’re building on the successful start we made last year, with GrainGrowers recognising the need for action on this vital issue for Australian farmers and other people in rural areas.”
Rural Aid CEO, John Warlters, said Rural Aid has taken significant steps to invest in placing more counsellors on the ground to provide actual support.
“This commitment highlights our strong determination to address mental health challenges in farming and rural communities,” he said.
“We warmly welcome GrainGrowers to the GPA's Farmer Mates Mental Health initiative, applauding their dedication to strengthening mental health awareness alongside GPA, Nufarm, and Lifeline.
“Together, we strive to make a positive difference in the lives of farmers and rural communities, ensuring their well-being is nurtured and supported.”
Other confirmed events with Brad so far this year are:
• AGIC Conference at Crown Promenade, Melbourne, July 26
• AgQuip, Gunnedah, NSW, August 22-24
• Yorke Peninsula Field Days, Paskeville, SA, September 26-28
• Elmore Field Days, Elmore, Vic, October 3-5
· Rural Aid’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Team HERE
· GPA’s Farmer Mates Mental Health initiative HERE
· Lifeline’s 24/7 telephone crisis support service is available on 13 11 14
· Mental Health and Wellbeing Team intake line 1300 17 55 94 - Head Office 1300 327 624
· Ducks on the Pond Podcast ‘Convincing your partner (or yourself!) to go on a holiday’ HERE
· Brad Hogg Video Message HERE