The proportion of people living in rural areas who have taken their own lives is up to 50 per cent higher than those in urban areas.

It's Mental Health Week and Federated Farmers is encouraging rural New Zealanders struggling with mental health issues to reach out for help.

President Katie Milne said it's a timely reminder to touch base with your priorities and your health.

Latest figures from Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall showed 606 Kiwis took their own life in the past year, significantly up from the year before.


Mental disorders are the third-leading cause for health issues experienced by New Zealanders, causing 11.1 per cent of all health loss, behind cancers as well as vascular and blood disorders.

Other data shows the suicide rate in our rural sector was 20 to 50 per cent higher than in urban areas.

"The real message of Mental Health Week is that if the stress is getting too much, it's not smart to tough it out on your own," Milne said.

Milne said the outdoors can provide a opportunities to relieve stress, but occurrences like weather events can also be a source of worry for rural folk.

Significant weather events across New Zealand have already cost insurers well over $100 million so far this year.

Milne also put out a message to the incoming Government, to improve access to mental health for rural communities.

"It's past time the inequalities of access to health services for the 600,000 people living in rural New Zealand were addressed."