A publication discussing mental health issues in the rural community was launched in New Plymouth last night.
It aims to encourage Taranaki farmers to find help, Like Minds Taranaki rural and elderly services co-ordinator Gordon Hudson said.
Called Feeling Down On The Farm - Mental Health In Rural Taranaki, the 16-page publication was put together after Urenui farmers John and Linda White saw something similar in Southland.
The magazine tells the stories of Taranaki farmers and gives information on where and how to get help for concerns around mental health.
Mr Hudson said the stories were written by farmers, which gave the publication credibility.
"Hopefully it will encourage people to get help when they are in mental distress."
One out of three people don't seek treatment because of the stigma and discrimination attached to mental illness, he said.
"The perception is worse than the symptoms."
But more people are starting to understand that mental illness is no different to any other illness, Mr Hudson said.
Rural Support Trust chairman Graeme Hight said suicide statistics are worse for rural areas at 16 out of 100,000 people compared to 10 out of every 100,000 in urban areas.
"We have to do something about it. We can't sit on our hands like we have for many years."
Mr White said he saw the Southland publication and wondered why something similar hadn't been done here.
He got together with Mr Hudson and the Rural Support Trust and everyone got excited about it, he said.
They have had 12,000 copies printed and 11,000 will be delivered to rural letterboxes in Taranaki this week.
Copies will also be put it into waiting rooms of doctors, dentists and lawyers, he said.
"We don't expect to have any left over."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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