17 Oct 2016

More calls to rural support line reported

4:14 pm on 17 October 2016

The Waikato Rural Support Trust is receiving unusually high numbers of calls from farmers as adverse weather conditions and the low dairy payout take a toll, it says.

Dairy cows in a milking shed in New Zealand.

Photo: 123RF

Trust chairman Neil Bateup said a particularly wet spring had caused issues with feed quality and quantity and that had made farming very difficult.

Mr Bateup said the farmers calling were mainly in the dairy industry, with those people also struggling with the low payout of the past couple of years.

"We've had a couple of dry stock farmers ring in but mainly dairy farmers. It has been very very hard going. I think there was a period of 26 days when we only had two days without rain.

"It just becomes depressing - there's no sun, [only] cloud, it's hard work."

Mr Bateup said the most calls were around the stress on dairy farmers and the depression it was causing.

He said the Rural Support Trust could help farmers get in touch with people who could help them.

"In September we had close on 30 calls and for the first 11 days of October we've had 15 calls so it's reasonably busy but that is really good because, you know, it's good to know that farmers know that we're there and if they feel that they do need help they'll put their hand up and ask for it.

"That's probably double the rate of calls we were getting last year."

He said depression could affect the relationship between farmers and sharemilkers, or with families, and flow on to them.

However, it mostly sprung from financial stress, he said.

Where to get help:

Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254

Lifeline: 0800 543 354

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz

What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)

Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)

Healthline: 0800 611 116

Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

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