Farmer Wants a Healthy Life

The Mental Tips

June 01, 2021 West Wimmera Health Service Season 1 Episode 2
The Mental Tips
Farmer Wants a Healthy Life
More Info
Farmer Wants a Healthy Life
The Mental Tips
Jun 01, 2021 Season 1 Episode 2
West Wimmera Health Service

In this episode we hear from Dr Alison Kennedy from the National Centre for Farmer Health. Alison shares some tips for things you can do every day to help your mental health on the farm. She also tells us about some of the things that can happen when you don’t look after your mental health.

Interested in the topic and looking for more?

The National Centre for Farmer Health has advice for specific to farmers on: Depression

Relationships and family

Stress

Check out the You Got This Mate Program! The program is for men living in rural Australia, and aims to helps them reach their best mental health. It provides:

  • Information on mental health matters
  • Stories (much like these podcasts)
  • Tips to look after your mental health
  • Tips to help other men

Facebook: @FarmerWantsaHealthyLife Twitter: @_FWAHL

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode we hear from Dr Alison Kennedy from the National Centre for Farmer Health. Alison shares some tips for things you can do every day to help your mental health on the farm. She also tells us about some of the things that can happen when you don’t look after your mental health.

Interested in the topic and looking for more?

The National Centre for Farmer Health has advice for specific to farmers on: Depression

Relationships and family

Stress

Check out the You Got This Mate Program! The program is for men living in rural Australia, and aims to helps them reach their best mental health. It provides:

  • Information on mental health matters
  • Stories (much like these podcasts)
  • Tips to look after your mental health
  • Tips to help other men

Facebook: @FarmerWantsaHealthyLife Twitter: @_FWAHL

Brigitte

This is a West Wimmera Health Service podcast. 


Hello, Brigitte Muir here. I am a storyteller who used to be a mountain climber, and I've been calling the Wimmera home for the last 40 years. 


Dr. Alison Kennedy  is a researcher who focuses on mental health and suicide prevention. I met her in Hamilton at the National Centre for Farmer Health. She gave me a whole heap of tips to deal with stress and that's to ensure the good functioning of the most important assets on the farm… The people of course!


Dr. Alison Kennedy

Look, there are, there are a number of things that we can do to relieve stress and to improve our mental health during this really busy period of the year, they’re not rocket science these things. They're things that we all know about, but we really do often need a bit of a prompt to remember those and to stick with those things, like healthy eating. We know healthy eating has a real benefit for our physical health, but it really does on our mental health as well, and the more colour on your plate you can have the better, that's kind of the general rule. Keeping a good sleep routine. We can keep a good routine going to bed at the same time of night making sure we've got a nice dark room and good airflow it’s nice and quiet. Put away all those screens well before bed, and avoid you know, things like coffee and alcohol before you go to sleep. Those sorts of things to build into your routine can really help.


Finding things to laugh about, is always a really important one, and I think, it's sometimes, we get caught up in so much of what's going on around us, that we forget to laugh. You know, we often reflect about children being so good at laughing but we kind of often lose that capacity as we get older. So making that effort to find things to laugh about.


Taking some time out, just to just to have time out, and to focus on something that you enjoy doing. We know, you know again, we know how busy people are. But this doesn't have to be something that takes a whole day it may just be five minutes within your day, just to take that moment to do something you really enjoy. 


Keeping socially connected. That's another really important one. And you know, in this day of COVID social distancing restrictions, we might need to be innovative in how we manage to do that, but it can just be you know, simply having a conversation with somebody on the phone or a back and forth text. You know, there are there are different ways to keep socially connected, even though we need to be physically distant. So yeah, there were really there are some simple things. So I think if people are able to keep those in mind that can really benefit mental health. 


Another one that I really should mention is physical activity. Again, that link between physical health and mental health is so, so important and keeping physically active, particularly if we're doing it with somebody else. To have that social connection as well can be really great for our mental health.


Brigitte

And of course it's very easy to spend too much time sitting with our lifestyles, even if you're living on a farm


Dr. Alison Kennedy

Too true, that is very true. And you know often it's… it's around planning some time in your day to be physically active and might even be you know, setting a reminder on your phone every hour or so that you just simply get up and take a moment to, to walk around. There's ways that everybody can keep some physical activity. 


Brigitte

What would you say to… the people who may not be the one who feel like they're shouldering the whole load of the work and making things happen on the farm, like the wives, or children, who end up being a supporting team in a way and will feel pressure from keeping track of everything which is happening, how you look after yourself when you are in that role?


Dr. Alison Kennedy

Yeah, that can be quite a burden. And we do know particularly women in farming families are often the ones that take that caring role and feel some sense of responsibility, I guess about the wellbeing about the people in their family and they're the ones that kind of have to put the pressure on to get somebody to… a visit to the GP for instance, that can be a… mental load on people as well that pressure to take care of others. So it's really important, I think, that that those tips that I was sharing before that, that they adopt those themselves, and it's very hard to support somebody else unless you're in a good place yourself. And I think you know, sometimes it's really hard to encourage our family members to look after their health and to even recognise that they might be experiencing some, some pressures on their mental health. So often it can be helpful to kind of point out some of those physical manifestations of poor mental health. Poor mental health really affects every system in the body. So, things like chronic gut problems, or headaches, muscle aches and pains. Even things like skin rashes or just kind of general low immunity. You know, a lot of those can be indications that people are struggling with their mental health, for us to be able to point that out to somebody it can help them realise too, that they may need to actually stop, and think and take some better care of their mental health, and put some things in place to support their mental wellbeing.


Brigitte

Yeah, it's got an effect of the whole family, and on the whole farm basically, if… if the main person in charge doesn't look after themselves, the whole thing… thing tumbles down and then what happens?


Dr. Alison Kennedy 

Yeah


Brigitte

And it gets worse. 


Dr. Alison Kennedy

Absolutely. And I think you know that we're very aware of that very strong flow on effect of poor health. You know, one individual can be experiencing poor health or poor mental health, that has a flow on effect onto the whole family. It has a flow on effect to the farming business. If …if you're unwell you can attend to all the needs of a strong farming business. So it is really a matter of looking after those valuable assets in the farming business and they are primarily the people. 


Brigitte 

That's right investing in yourself. 


Dr. Alison Kennedy

Absolutely 


Brigitte

Well, thank you very much, Alison for your time today. And we will talk again further down the line, to dig deeper into all those very fascinating subjects, that everyone out there really needs to be aware of, to have a healthy, healthy life.


Dr. Alison Kennedy

Absolutely. I look forward to having more conversations.


Brigitte

That was Alison Kennedy of the National Centre for Farmer Health. I hope you enjoyed today's episode. Until next have a healthy life.



Transcribed by https://otter.ai edited by WWHS Health Promotion Team