Supporting mental health and wellbeing for farming communities in Griffith and surrounds

Mental health focus: Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network will be at this year's Riverina Field Days delivering health and lifestyle assessments in partnership with Deakin University. Picture: Supplied.

Mental health focus: Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network will be at this year's Riverina Field Days delivering health and lifestyle assessments in partnership with Deakin University. Picture: Supplied.

Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network (MPHN) has organised free farmer health and lifestyle assessments at the 2021 Riverina Field Days, made possible with funding from the Australian Government's 'Empowering Our Communities' initiative to support mental health and wellbeing in drought affected communities.

The National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) is a partnership between Western District Health Service and Deakin University and will be delivering the health and lifestyle assessments (HLA). NCFH Program Coordinator Tracey Hatherell said the 20-minute health assessments at site 61c are for farm men, women, agricultural workers and all rural community members.

"Each HLA include a lifestyle survey focussing on health behaviours, farm practices, and social and emotional wellbeing," Ms Hatherell said.

"The HLA also includes cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure readings, BMI, and diabetes risk, by our trained agri-health professionals to provide people with the education and skills to improve their health."

Acting MPHN CEO Julie Redway said the farmer health and lifestyle assessments are just one of many things MPHN is providing at the Riverina Field Days to help support mental health and wellbeing in farming communities.

"I'm so pleased we have been able to provide farmers in the local area an opportunity to have a check-up on their health at the Riverina Field Days and I would encourage as many people as possible to take advantage of these free health assessments," Ms Redway said.

"MPHN will have our own stand at site 61c with plenty of information about mental health services and supports we have available in our region, including free online suicide prevention training known as Question. Persuade. Refer. (QPR).

"We know drought impacts both farming families and their communities, and helping to build community capacity to help foster long-term resilience.

"QPR training provides participants with knowledge and skills to identify warning signs someone might be suicidal, the confidence to talk to them and how to connect them to professional care.

"Attendees can also collect a free diary from MPHN's stand, when they have their health assessment, or at the entrance to the field day. The diaries are financial year and are undated, making them practical at any time."

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency call the Mental Health Line 1800 011 511, Lifeline 13 11 14 or call 000. To access the Head to Health website go to www.headtohealth.gov.au. The site brings together a range of digital mental health services from some of Australia's most trusted mental health organisations.

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