Fieldays is known for showcasing innovation and connecting rural communities, but it also makes rural health and wellness a priority.
The Health and Wellbeing Hub is back at Fieldays this year, in a bigger location with more organisations focusing on the importance of rural health and wellness and providing free health check-ups and advice to visitors.
The hub is run in collaboration with Mobile Health, which provides elective day surgery for patients in rural New Zealand.
Mobile Health CEO Mark Eager said the initial idea behind the hub was to build a "health centre of the future", and provide an interactive platform that farmers and growers can resonate with.
"With the Health and Wellbeing Hub, since we do things a bit differently, we get engagement from people that don't usually receive healthcare. In 2019, we'd see women walking into the hub with purpose, spending a while inside looking around. Later, you'd see them return with their husbands pulled along by the ear to get a check-up."
In 2019, 25,000 people came through the Health and Wellbeing Hub at Fieldays showing the importance of a positive platform to engage and inform people about physical and mental health. That year, 11 malignant melanomas were detected in the hub and one woman discovered she had type 1 diabetes.
This year, organisations will be offering an abundance of check-ups that could easily cover the cost of a Fieldays ticket. The check-ups on offer include hearing checks, blood sugar level testing, and hepatitis C testing, to skin cancer spot checks, blood pressure checks, atrial fibrillation checks, and confidential mental health support.
Organisations new to the hub this year include sleep experts EdenSleep, the Stroke Foundation of New Zealand, Anglesea Pharmacy and The Pindrop Foundation, who will be sharing information on cochlear implants. You can also inform yourself on the Covid-19 vaccine and immunisation rollout.
Rural mental health is also at the forefront of support again this year. Wanda Leadbeater from the Rural Support Trust says there are lots of stressors affecting farmers and growers that are completely out of their control, which is hard on their mental health as a result.
"Pressures on farmers and growers, such as the weather or changes in the market, can often mean they work longer hours or suffer detrimental financial consequences. They are great at looking after their stock and crops, but sometimes they don't remember to look after themselves."
Her advice to farmers and growers who are struggling with their mental health is to "talk, talk, and talk some more! Reach out to others, whether it be friends, family, or someone at Rural Support. You are the most important asset in your business – take the time to look after yourself and asking for help is not a weakness if things are getting tough."
Eager says one of the special parts of the hub is that it presents health and wellness in a such a way that people are open to interact and listen.
"I'll always remember the Rural Support Trust running a competition with a watt bike in 2019 where people get on and have a race.
"What you actually see is farmers having a chat with the Rural Support Trust people, then they'd go away for a coffee to make a plan on how they can get support. They thought they were just watching a watt bike, but they ended up leaving with a lot more."
For more information and tickets to Fieldays visit fieldays.co.nz.