Wednesday, 08 May 2019 08:33

Farmers, it’s good to talk

Written by  Nigel Malthus
Lance Burdett. Photo: WARN International. Lance Burdett. Photo: WARN International.

Perhaps the biggest hinderance to farmers' wellbeing is their lack of social life, says former police crisis negotiator Lance Burdett, who has begun his tour of the South Island to encourage wellness.

Social life, exercise and sleep are the three things that keep all of us well, he says.

He says for farmers, exercise is pretty well covered by the daily running of the farm, but a lack of social life has the most impact on rural wellbeing.

Burdett, a former crisis negotiator with 22 years experience working with police – and the military, emergency services, prisons and the FBI – now runs a consultancy called WARN (wellness, awareness, resilience and negotiation). It provides tips and techniques for people to handle difficult situations by understanding what goes on in their’s and others’ brains.

Burdett will share his message in a speaking tour of 16 South Island rural centres arranged by the regional Rural Support Trusts with support from MPI. 

He says there are two ways to “get things out of your head” – one is to speak and the other is to write. But for farmers the biggest problem may be isolation and not talking.

Burdett’s speaking tour will include three different programmes for various audiences: Rural Support Trust’s own people on how best to engage with their clients, a second for merchants and others who deal with farmers, and the third for farmers themselves. 

The three-week tour starts in Timaru and Fairlie on May 6. It follows a successful tour of Central North Island regions last year. The full schedule is on the Rural Support website.

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