Farmer-focused mental health toolkit funding boost

An online portal aimed at helping improve the wellbeing of farmers and their communities is being expanded, thanks to a $200,000 Marshall Liberal Government grant.

The $200,000 funding injection from the $21 million Drought Support Package will be used to further develop the ifarmwell website, which provides practical information for farmers about ways of coping with challenging and difficult circumstances.

Minister of Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said industry has embraced the online toolkit during these challenging times.

“The health and wellbeing of our farmers is paramount as they work through these challenging times, particularly with the ongoing drought,” Minister Basham said.

“That’s why we’ve invested in the ifarmwell online toolkit to give individual farmers, their families and wider communities access to a portal to assist in providing practical assistance.

“Expanding ifarmwell’s capability will give farmers, and their supporters additional tools and resources to reduce the negative impact of stressful situations, so they can make good decisions and have more time and energy to focus on things that make them happy and resilient.

“The $21 million Drought Support Program is helping pastoralists, farmers and families who need it most, providing immediate support through a council rate rebate and pastoral lease rent relief, expanding the Rural Financial Counselling Service and increasing the Family and Business mentor program, while also supporting long-term resilience through an expansion of the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme.”

The ifarmwell website, which provides a free, evidence-based online self-help toolkit, has been developed by Dr Kate Gunn, farmer’s daughter, Clinical Psychologist and Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Rural Health at the University of South Australia.

“We are delighted to be able to partner with the State Government to make the ifarmwell website more interactive and enable more Australian farmers to learn strategies to effectively manage things beyond their control,” Dr Gunn said.

“The $200,000 will fund the development of a portal for healthcare, agricultural and finance professionals who work with farmers, allowing them to demonstrate the ifarmwell toolkit to their clients, refer and support their clients through the program and to send reminders and resources to their clients.

“Training in the portal will be provided to Rural Financial Counsellors, Family and Business Support mentors and other mental health and wellbeing service providers, to encourage greater uptake and delivery of mental health and wellbeing support to South Australia’s farming sector.”

On the new version of the website, farmers also have the added option to work through the modules with support from a friend or family member. To view the toolkit, visit ifarmwell.com.au

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