Promoting mental health, demystifying mental illness, countering stigma and discrimination

Rural Communities

Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to this "Rural Communities" section


The farming community face stressors that others don' often doesn't do what it needs to; work issues such as loss of employment, too much work, unfair/unequal returns for investment and effort, too much responsibility and/or too much mention just a few.

It's easy to let it seriously get to you. You can become depressed.

Anyone can become depressed. Depression is not a sign of a weak character. Nor can a person simply 'snap out of it'. Just as John Kirwan says... two of the most disturbing symptoms of depression are that it 'saps the will' and is 'extremely stressful'.

Depression is an illness. It can become much worse without proper care. If depressed feelings last for more than two weeks, or if you feel suicidal, you must seek help from your GP.

Understanding depression, may not solve problems. Depression can turn your sense of order in life on its head, making the process and progress of regaining control of life and personality an uphill struggle.

One in five patients seeing their GP has experienced depression in the year of their visit. Women present twice as often as men and Maori three times more than Non-Maori. People are becoming depressed at an earlier age and more often, if single, in middle age.

Signs of depression may vary between individuals - and over time, including:

  • Feeling miserable with feelings persisting despite some good things happening
  • Loss of interest, motivation and pleasure in usual activities, including sexual activity
  • Loss of appetite and energy - even when not physically active
  • Sleeping difficulties despite feelings of exhaustion
  • Persistent worrying about trivial things, agitation, irritability and forgetfulness
  • Recurrent feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and guilt - for no apparent reason
  • Fears about people, places and events - often leading to social isolation
  • Thoughts of the attractiveness of death and suicide.
Men, especially, often do not wish to acknowledge their symptoms...yet GPs and other complementary health professionals are generally experienced in understanding and helping overcome depression. A combination of counselling, medication and support is recommended.

You may wish also to seek support/information from:

Like Minds National HELP LINE - Tel: 0800-101-107

Depression Helpline Tel: 0800-111-757

Two of the most important things to do are share your feelings with someone you trust and who will take the time to listen - and to seek professional help as soon as possible.

You may access any of the following sections either from the drop down menu on the home page or directly by clicking in the title below:

Sections with direct links


Feeling Down On The Farm - a publication aimed at addressing mental health in rural Taranaki


Stress in Rural Communities

Anxiety and how to handle it

Depression and how to handle it


Mental Illness and Rural Communities

Support is at Hand for Distressed Farmers

By a Farmer who has been there

Stressed out?  You can do something about it.

Surviving the tougher times

Below is a link for an interview on Radio New Zealand with Hawkes Bay Farmer, David Hunt, who describes how living with depression has impacted on his life and farming operation.

Like Minds Taranaki gratefully acknowledges the financial support of this website by
The Ministry of Health

Feedback is always welcome
Like Minds Taranaki, 06-759-0966, email:

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Taranaki Mental Health Sector