Rural Mental Health

Asking for help when you're feeling low may be the last thing some people want to do but it is worth it, says Golden Bay dairy farmer Wayne Langford.

"You pretty much need to go to anyone that you can. It'll be the hardest conversation you have, but jeez it's worth it when you reach out there, you know? Just at that moment.

"I get cut up just thinking about it actually ... it's a pretty big moment when you say 'I'm struggling' - but just tell anyone because it's worth it at the end of the day" an emotional Langford told The Country's Jamie Mackay.

Through his battle with depression, Langford adopted a strategy where he aimed to do "a little challenge every day, and after adopting the phrase "You Only Live Once" - the YOLO Farmer was born.

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Langford is pleased to report that with the help of his family he is now on day 1106 as a YOLO Farmer.

"We've had a lot of fun in the last three years ... just living a little challenge every day to say that we've lived for each day. [We're] pretty lucky just to celebrate three years - 1106 days I think and counting so - away we go."

Langford said he couldn't pinpoint what caused his depression, as a number of challenges built up and "finally broke the camel's back."

"I eventually found myself in bed not making too many decisions, not overly happy, pretty grumpy with the kids and not having much fun really."

Despite this, Langford managed to keep busy working two governance roles, which he found taxing, yet rewarding.

"I actually done what I thought was a pretty good job of hiding it," said Langford, who admitted he would "crash for a couple of days" after meetings or events.

"But it was pretty rewarding at the same time to still feel like I was contributing even though I was going through the worst time of my life."

Listen below:

Langford said he had a few tips and techniques for managing mental health.

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"You've got to look after it just as much as you look after your body."

"Work out your trigger points, what's causing your stress? For me I'd always get quite irritable I'd have back spasms. My back would always spasm when I'm under real stress. So you've just got to learn to back off from those things a bit."

"Then you've got to lay out a plan of how to get out of it. So even at the moment I find myself getting busy sometimes - too busy. You've got to recognise that and say - actually I need to slow down here.

"It might mean a trip to the beach, a bush walk, or [to] take yourself to the top of a mountain somewhere and just spend a few moments breathing the world in rather than letting it suck you in."

Physical activity was also important, but Langford said the best form was "real exercise."

"The stuff that makes you feel alive is when you get that heart rate going.

"Farmers often feel that when they're in the calving paddock in the spring, you know, when you chase after a calf and you come back to the trailer and you're puffing and wheezing.

"That's when you probably realise you haven't done quite enough on the exercise back over the winter. So, it's really important."

Where to get help:
Rural Support Trust: 0800 787 254
Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.