Member news: FMG teams up with New Zealand Mental Health Foundation to help rural farmers

Tuesday, 03 February 2015

ICMIF member and rural insurer FMG (New Zealand) has begun working with the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) on a programme looking after farmers in rural areas across the country.

“As a mutual, FMG was established over 100 years ago to help farmers protect their farms, so supporting a programme promoting the wellbeing of farmers is an opportunity for us to give back to the farming community,” says Chris Black, Chief Executive FMG (pictured right).

FMG is pleased to be working with the MHF on this initiative – a partnership it sees as a natural fit.

“FMG’s extensive and well-established networks in the rural sector, combined with the Mental Health Foundation’s experience in improving wellbeing, means that together we can make a positive difference for rural communities,” says Judi Clements, MHF Chief Executive.

“Research shows that doing things to maintain and improve your wellbeing means you will be more prepared and able to deal with life’s ups and downs - and it’s also good for business,” Ms Clements says.

“Running a farming operation has become increasingly complex and challenging, not just in terms of the physical demands and economic fluctuations, but also because of more stringent regulatory and compliance requirements and expectations, and the need to do more with less,” Mr Black says.

“Farmers often prioritise keeping their stock, land and physical assets in good condition ahead of looking after themselves. The intent of our programme is to get them to think about that and help them and their families stay in good shape,” he says.

FMG and MHF are inviting farmers to complete an online survey as part of the programme’s initial development. The survey asks about the type of farming they are involved with, the techniques they use to manage the demands of their work, and what information they would like about keeping themselves in good shape.

“We know that many farmers are already taking steps to help themselves manage the stresses associated with farming. Through the survey we’re keen to hear about what they are doing so we can share some of the best ideas and techniques with other farmers.

“There’s plenty of other work going on behind the scenes in bringing this new programme together and we expect to be in a position to talk more about it next year,” Mr Black says.