Comment: DairyNZ has released a letter from an architectural designer in Auckland to illustrate urban support for New Zealand farmers and to raise awareness of rural mental health with Mental Health Week, September 23-29, set to begin.
Despite the everyday pressures of farming, dairy farmers are doing okay and supporting each other through what are tough times for many, DairyNZ's strategy and investment leader Dr Jenny Jago says.
• Farmer's open letter to Jacinda Ardern: Part 2
"Our farmers are busy ensuring the environment is protected and caring for their people and animals. Many of them are reporting that they feel stress, anxiety, fatigue and even depression from time to time" she said.
"Statistics for the past year show that almost one in five farmers has contacted someone for help with personal issues.
"That is a high number, but what's important is that they recognised their need for support and took action to get it."
Along with media coverage calling for New Zealanders to get behind farmers, such as Kerre McIvor's on Newstalk ZB last week and her Herald on Sunday column at the weekend, members of the public had been contacting DairyNZ to express their support.
Here's what Aucklander Mark Ellery had to say in his letter to DairyNZ last week:
I am just a normal hardworking small business owner in Auckland and I have some real concerns about the rural sector in this country.
I am an architectural designer, an Aucklander and generally a pen (or mouse) pusher.
From me, as your average Kiwi, to everyone of your farmers – I love them, they are the backbone, the guts and the legs that have kept this country going and will for the next millennium.
My apologies at how every farmer is being treated in this country. It is totally disrespectful to a core of our country and I just feel so sick at the stress that is being placed on every man, woman and child in the rural sector.
We are not all like that. In fact, I think most good Kiwis love our rural brothers and sisters and it hurts me to think they are hurting from the stress that is being placed on them.
I had one man's stress on me. I can't imagine having the feeling the Government and the country is against you.
It is not.
We love you all. Please keep going. Please keep being the people you are, the real Kiwis and I promise the next time I am coming past a farm and see one of you out there I will stop and shake your hand and thank you for being you.
Mark and the entire Ellery Family.
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.