Saturday, 20 April 2013

Take Good Care of Your Farming Mates!

Take Good Care of Your Mates!

This week on Twitter there was a Multi-Nation discussion and concern about “farmers being in dark places” as a result of stress.
Extreme weather events in many countries including Ireland, UK, West Australia and New Zealand are putting farmers under immense stress. Stress about money, feed availability and the costs of buying in expensive feed when pasture is not growing. 
Hell it’s tough!

Now is the time to take good care of your mates!

 Men go into their “Man Caves” and it’s a very dark place to be…’s a scary place for men to go. Men in “Man Caves” frighten women and stress farming families. Men under stress tend to shut down and stop talking. This is a huge concern to everyone. 
The farm’s “Magic Spot” is a lovely place to be with your family. “Magic Spots” on farms are not “Man Caves” Don’t get confused!

 Don't allow the farm to be your whole world!
Farming is an isolated profession. Farming can sap your every energy. However farming should never be your whole world. Farms and farming exist in a turbulent world. This is a world of climatic extremes, regular financial crisis and volatile world markets. Farms are always at risk but your life is about so much more than just the farm.
Don't allow the farm to be your whole world!
You are so much more!

Men can be farmers but they are also fathers, sons, husbands, friends, mates, lovers, laughers, jokesters and team players.

If a drought or prolonged cold or extreme wetness does seriously affect your farm you don’t want it bowling over your whole world. By saying that…… in no way am I underestimating the damaging impact of dryness (or cold or extreme wet) can have on a farm business.

However now that the rain has started (the sun has crept out) there are many critical decisions that will impact the speed of recovery. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Alison Fairleigh in Australia (one of my twitter friends) this week wrote in her blog

KEEPING A MATE SAFE (adapted from Rural Alive & Well)

Monitor your mate's behaviour: are they acting differently or strangely? Watch for the warning signs.

Alert: stay watchful. We all have bad days, however if your mate shows warning signs, they may be at risk of depression or suicide.

Talk to your mate. Ask the question: ''ARE YOU OK?'' The only way to check out if they are OK, is to ask!

Engage with your mate. Encourage them to take action, visit a doctor or call a telephone support line. Offer to get them some assistance. It may be all it takes to keep them safe.

You need to know what support services are available so you can EMPOWER YOUR MATE TO TAKE CONTROL!

Caring effective Farm Discussion Groups can be so supportive when farmers are going through a hell of a time. Now is the time NOT to miss your Discussion Group day. Go looking for workable solutions. Go so you realise that everyone else is struggling too & that you are NOT alone. Go so that you get off your own farm for a few hours. Go just for the laughter!

Take a neighbour or farming friend to your group meeting (even if it is only once). Introduce them to positive caring people in your group. Have a laugh together, talk about possible help the group might offer, talk solutions & next steps looking forward. Your group can help your district recover quicker.
If you are the facilitator don't allow the group to get into negative think and negative talk. Talk about the Rugby, AFL, Hurling, fishing and the Grand Prix as well as cow condition and pasture covers.

If you go to your Farm Discussion Group meeting and Bill isn’t there????…..ask if anyone else has seen Bill? Who spoke to Bill recently… he okay? Don't encourage drinking binges but go for a talk over tea or coffee.

If Andrea doesn’t show up either????…..has anyone rung her to see if she is okay? Take good care of your mates! 

When you get home…..ring Bill…..ring Andrea to make sure they are both okay! Don’t allow your mates to isolate themselves…it’s dangerous right now!

It’s important….Take good care of your Mates!