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On-farm services critical for rural mental health

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The manager of a south Otago Māori health service says farmers and farm workers often struggle to reach out for help when they have mental health difficulties.

Milton-based Tokomairiro Waiora Incorporated received a $54,000 grant from the Ministry for Primary Industries to continue its addiction and mental health counselling services while it looks for more secure long term funding.

Manager Tia Potae says farmers, shearers and other workers work long hours and can't just leave the farm for a counseling appointment.

"It's taken them 45 minutes to drive there, 45 minutes to drive home. It's just not something that's really an option for these people working hard in these rural industries. We need to try to encourage services to go to the people and create spaces where people are able co come in after hours, after 5, 6 o'clock at night," she says.

Tokomairiro Waiora will use some of the pūtea to run wānanga for rangatahi interested in working in the primary sectors.

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