NZ Young Farmers has a new initiative to help improve the wellbeing of young people in rural communities.
The initiative is funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), with $40,000 allocated to NZ Young Farmers to organise events in seven regional areas, featuring guest speakers, activities, and skill-building sessions.
"It's important we continue our efforts to give people the skills to look after their wellbeing, manage stress and to recognise and openly talk about mental health," MPI's director of rural communities and farming support Nick Story said.
NZ Young Farmers had a network of 70 clubs, which provided an opportunity for young people to make friends, network, upskill and socialise.
One of the wellbeing events held will be a six-week bootcamp at Longburn in the Manawatū starting on June 8, 2021.
Winter was a great time for a bootcamp to help build farmers' fitness ahead of calving and lambing, which was a busy time on-farm, NZ Young Farmers member Kate Stewart
"It also gives us an opportunity to share wellbeing tips, such as nutritional advice, to help our rural community get through."
The training programme will be overseen by Taranaki dairy farmer Kane Brisco, who was well-known for founding the Farm Fit bootcamp, Stewart said.
Other events were planned for Kaihu, Opuawhanga, Waiharara, Hamilton, Gisborne, Pahiatua, Lincoln, Timaru, and Gore.
"The mental and physical wellbeing of young people is a big focus of our organisation and essential for the ongoing viability of many rural communities," NZ Young Farmers chief executive Lynda Coppersmith said.
"This programme will increase awareness of the wellbeing support and resources available, and give young people the confidence to access them."
Provisional figures released by the Chief Coroner show 654 people died in New Zealand from suicide in 2019-20, and almost one third (205 people) were under the age of 30.
The events will harness the resources and expertise of existing wellbeing support providers, such as Farmstrong, Rural Support Trusts, and the award-winning Good Yarn workshops.
MPI was allocated $1.1 million last year to deliver extra wellbeing support services over three years to complement those provided by Rural Support Trusts.