Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Government pledges more money for rural mental health

The Government is to spend more money on rural mental health. Photo / iStock
The Government is to spend more money on rural mental health. Photo / iStock

A further $600,000 will be spent rural mental health services, including suicide prevention workshops.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy announced the funding at Fieldays, now on at Mystery Creek, Hamilton, with Prime Minister John Key.

"The Government recognises that rural life goes in cycles, with ups and downs. We are committed to supporting our rural communities," Dr Coleman said.

"This joint initiative will help to ensure we maintain the momentum achieved last year, while putting a plan in place for the future.

"The new funding will help to strengthen local networks for farmers, workers and families in rural communities. It will provide more suicide prevention workshops and employ coordinators to work with rural support trusts."

The $600,000 is for the second phase of the rural mental health initiative, and follows a similar funding commitment at last year's Fieldays.

The new funding will cover 10 more suicide prevention workshops in rural areas that don't yet get them, and the development of a new programme focussed on managing suicidal patients in rural areas.

Falling milk prices have put a spotlight on rural mental health.

The suicide rate for people living in rural areas is 12.5 per 100,000 people compared to 10.6 for every 100,000 people living in urban areas, according to information on the Federated Farmers website.

The Rural General Practice Network has welcomed the mental health programme, but says finding and keeping doctors in remote locations was a major challenge.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 05 Dec 2016 01:16:16 Processing Time: 414ms