A group of young Taranaki farmers have stripped naked in a bid to raise awareness about depression and mental health in the rural and farming sector.

Inglewood Young Farmers' Club posed naked for a national photo competition organised by Will To Live. But their entry into the competition was personal.

Taranaki diesel mechanic Josh Evershed revealed he was having a simple conversation with a family member when it dawned on him his relative, who works on a farm, was going through mental health issues.

Steps were quickly put in place to ease the workload on the farm, and soon an idea sprang to mind to encourage farmers and those in rural communities to open up and talk about their own mental health and how they're really feeling.

Advertisement

Evershed and eight friends then entered the Will To Live competition and finished first, winning $1500, which they plan to donate to charity.

The photo went viral, and now the club is hoping the message to speak up will be far-reaching.

"A group of us from Inglewood Young Farmers got together to take this photo, to show our support to everyone out there, battling those hard times.

"The black dog is definitely something that we have either personally battled with, or has affected those close to us. For a lot of us, this was very much out of our comfort zone, but sometimes that's what life's about, right?" they wrote.

"Having a few beers, a yarn and a laugh with a good group of mates can be all it takes to lift your spirits when you feel like you're constantly pushing s$ up hill.

"Stay safe, look after your mates and get through those tough times together because you are definitely not alone."

🤩We won!🤩 Very humbling to win this fantastic competition amongst all the amazing entries and all for a bloody good...

Posted by Inglewood Young Farmers Club on Monday, 7 September 2020

Will To Live was set up in 2018 by South Island farmer Elle Perriam who organised a "Speak Up" tour to rural areas of the country in a bid to raise awareness for mental health after her partner took his own life.

Inglewood Young Farmers' Club's efforts have since been praised by many around the country with Kiwis thanking them for their efforts.

Advertisement

"Just awesome... Those pictures besides showing brave people show how lucky we are to live in a spectacular country," one said.

Another added: "Have loved following this. Much respect to all those that participated tu meke."

Where to get help:
0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP) (available 24/7)
https://www.lifeline.org.nz/services/suicide-crisis-helpline
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 or TEXT 4202
• NATIONAL ANXIETY 24 HR HELPLINE: 0800 269 4389
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.