Dr Tom Mulholland is bringing his attitude-changing mission to Whangamatā.
The author, former host of his own daily TV chat show on TV2 and weekly talk show on RadioLive spent more than 30 years in hospital emergency department roles before deciding too many Kiwis were becoming ill from preventable diseases.
He set out to become the ambulance at the top of the cliff - turning a retro Chevy ambulance into a pop-up medical clinic and travelling around New Zealand.
Dr Tom will talk at Opoutere School at 7pm on 4 March, adding the community of the Coromandel to his list of more than 1000 keynote presentations on wellbeing to international clients like Google, Microsoft and the Hilton hotel chain.
Organised by locals with support from PGG Wrightson, the event is open to everybody, says farmer and Onemana Rural Fire Chief Jo Adams.
He says farmers are among those feeling the strain of drought, and then Covid impacts, and he hoped anyone unable to afford the cost of getting to the free talk would reach out and ask for a ride.
"But anyone can come to it, you don't have to be a farmer, you can be off the street if you want. If you need help, just come along."
Dr Tom talks about healthy thinking and how to diagnose and treat what he calls "attitude illness".
This week he was giving talks in the South Island, including Te Anau, which he says was among New Zealand's many rural communities facing similar issues to Whangamatā when it comes to the tragic consequences of poor mental health.
"There's not many small towns that haven't been touched by this, all around the country it's more and more common," he says.
Dr Tom has invented an app called KYND that measures phsyical, mental and social health and allows users to see their level of stress.
"What I find is people are a lot more honest with their phone than with talking," he says.
He has a goal to get 10,000 farmers to download the app and measure their own health.
The talk at Opoutere will be helpful for people who know others struggling with mental health issues, and for people such as emergency services volunteers who are increasingly involved in life crises.
Dr Tom spent 31 years in the emergency department and was a part-time doctor for St John Ambulance.
He said he appreciates the time commitment and mental and emotional toll of St John and Fire Service volunteers attending callouts.
"If you are going to be an emergency firefighter, you are going to see these grisly things. That's what makes me try to be the ambulance at the top of the cliff, giving people tools [to cope]."
If you are going to be an emergency firefighter, you are going to see these grisly things. That's what makes me try to be the ambulance at the top of the cliff
He said many people do not know how to help and it was important to have the tools and to avoid burnout themselves.
He described the role of supporters to those with severe mental health struggles as needing to step in with something akin to brain resuscitation.
"The biggest reason people don't do CPR is they're worried they'll get it wrong. In one hour 40 minutes I can't teach them to be mental health first-aiders, but they can hopefully put in place some strategies to address and avoid burnout."
• Dr Tom's Walk the Talk with PGG Wrightson visit is at 7pm on 4 March at Opoutere School. If you'd like Dr Tom to visit your farm or station, email firstname.lastname@example.org.