Sun, Jan 28, 2024 8:00 AM
ELOISE MARTYN + WILLIAM WOODWORTH
Rural people are saying the same thing - times are tough, challenges are everywhere, and the future looks bumpy. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. How about talking to someone who understands the pressures of rural life?
Rural Support Trust knows from experience how finances, relationships, and work pressures can all mount up and affect your well-being.
Our local Top of the South Rural Support Trust (TOSRST) is part of a nationwide network that works with rural individuals and their families, to help solve problems or personal challenges.
Marlborough Trustee, TOSRST Deputy Chair and former sheep and beef farmer Chris Bird says that their trust is an extension of the natural instinct rural people have to help their neighbours.
“The 14 Rural Support Trust’s across the country at its most basic facilitates rural Kiwis helping each other, whether that’s with boots on the ground to help farmers after natural disasters, a cup of tea and a chat about how they are going, or something more complex that we can help facilitate solutions for”.
“It’s a full blanket service, because we have outlets for any advice or support rural people may need to access and help wherever we can”.
Chris says that difficulties can come from so many different sources, but a first step to finding solutions in tough times is by reaching out for assistance.
“The last few years in the region have been especially tough rurally, with the rain and flooding in 2021 and 2022 being a huge effort that is still ongoing in certain areas”.
“Otherwise, money stresses hit rural people hard and the sheep and beef farmers are struggling with low prices on top of increasing costs of living - as much as money isn’t everything, achieving financial security does help take stress off.
“The Rural Support Trust encourages supportive, resilient communities across New Zealand, and having speakers like Matt Chisholm joining us here on his Time Out tour to talk about mental health challenges break down those stigmas of speaking out was really well supported, which is great to see”.
“Touch wood, this year will allow us to continue helping whoever needs us across the region, but also expanding our operations, reach, and preparations for whatever we’re needed for”.
Orchardist, farmer, past Tasman District Mayor, and TOSRST chair, Richard Kempthorne, says that it’s a common time of the year to be feeling overwhelmed.
“Anxiety and depression are common at this time of the year, some call it the ‘holiday blues,’ and even though many in the rural sector won’t be taking a holiday they can still experience the stress associated with the holiday period,” Richard explains.
Richard says that financial pressure from buying Christmas gifts, hosting meals, interacting with extended family, and looking after children while school and childcare facilities are closed can all be contributing factors to feeling overwhelmed in the months following Christmas.
“It’s a really busy time on the farm and when you have these extra pressures on top of an already stretched workload it can easily start to become overwhelming and that’s where getting some free support can really help you through,” Richard says.
If you, or someone you know, has worries or are feeling overwhelmed, find someone to talk to. This might be a neighbour, friend or the TOSRST. The local team are here to help rural people, themselves rural people with knowledge and experience who can listen and work beside you to achieve positive outcomes for you, your property, and your family. Don’t feel alone if you identify with this message – help is available.
Call Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)
Other contacts for information, help or support:
1737 Free call or text 1737 any time, 24 hours a day to talk or text with a trained counsellor.
Lifeline Phone 0800 543 354 or 09 522 2999 or text HELP (4357) any time
Youthline 0800 376 633 or free text 234
In an emergency call 111