Down on the Farm – Depression and mental health in the rural south

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By April 17, 2015 No Comments

Authors: JOURNALIST: Yvonne O'Hara ORGANISATION: Southern Rural Life – part of the Allied Press group of community newspapers

Year: 2011

Event: 2011 TheMHS Awards


Type of resource: TheMHS Awards

Award state: NZ

Award level: Winner

Award category: Print

Abstract: Yvonne O’Hara is an agricultural reporter and won a New Zealand Mental Health Foundation media grant to research and write a supplement about stress, depression and other mental health issues among farmers in Otago and Southland, New Zealand, in 2009. The supplement was also intended to help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. Yvonne talked to farmers who had been through stress, depression and attempted suicide as well as mental health professionals. Yvonne included symptoms, types of support available in the rural sector, rural support trusts' roles and the need for farmers to seek help rather than be staunch, ignore their problems and ''just get on with it''. There is a high suicide rate in the agricultural sector as farmers and contractors are under significant financial, climatic and red tape pressures. The supplement was published shortly after Christchurch's first earthquake and during Southland's biggest snow event for years. Yvonne O'Hara has been a journalist since 1998. She trained at Wellington Polytechnic as a mature student when she was 35. After graduating she has worked at the Wainuiomata News and the Central Otago News. For the last seven years she has been senior reporter for Southern Rural Life, an agricultural newspaper, which goes to 21,000 rural box holders in Otago and Southland. Both the paper and Yvonne have won awards from the New Zealand Community Newspaper Association. She received the Mental Health Foundation grant of $12,000 in 2009. She is most interested in mental health in the rural sector and climate change issues as well as new agricultural technology advances. Description of Facility/Organisation:

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