$100,000 Boost for Rural Wellbeing
In a training room at Eastpack’s Te Puke headquarters, a handpicked group of managers are learning how to identify workmates with failing mental health.
“I’m finding it really interesting learning the background to mental health,” says coolstore team leader Josh Lang.
Sitting next to Josh is Trinity Lands’ GM Sustainability Brett Fleming, who chose to come along following Trinity’s decision to give rural wellbeing a major boost with a $100,000 donation for the GoodYarn mental health programme.
“I’m just learning about how poor mental health can occur, and ways of mitigating it, and maintaining good mental health,” Brett says. “This is just really good and really brilliant and I’m glad that, as Trinity Lands, we’ve supported this work.”
The funding was awarded at Trinity Lands’ 2021 annual dinner. CEO Peter McBride told those gathered: “We know the importance of good mental health and we love what the GoodYarn workshop does to help ordinary Kiwis.”
GoodYarn began in the Deep South in 2014, and has since spread nationwide. GoodYarn workshops help participants to know the signs and symptoms of common mental illnesses, build confidence to identify mental distress, talk about it, and know how and where to get help. It’s unique in its peer-led approach and original focus on the rural community, and more than 10,000 people have now been part of one of these workshops.
Igor Gerritsen, a GoodYarn facilitator and trustee of the overarching Good Programmes Trust, says the organisation was both grateful and blown away by the endorsement inherent in the $100,000 donation.
Igor is a former cop and church pastor. He was working at a church in Te Puke when the Psa crisis hit the kiwifruit industry, and says he saw the many ways stress can impact a person’s mental health. He says GoodYarn is an effective tool that equips people to look out for those in their community and workplace.
He tells a story of a bank manager who called him soon after completing GoodYarn training to say he had just seen a client who had displayed many of the distress signs he’d been taught to identify. Igor happened to be in the very town where that farmer lived and within 10 minutes he was in his farm gate. It turned out the farmer had made a decision to kill himself at the back of the farm at 2pm that day, but Igor’s perfectly-timed visit and offer to help led to the farmer and his family getting counselling and on-farm support. The bank manager’s training to identify warning signs of mental stress saved the farmer’s life.
“I have seen GoodYarn work,” Igor says, “and I’ve seen it save lives. It gives you skills. It works.”