Social activities run by NZ Young Farmers clubs are having a positive impact on the mental wellbeing of the organisation’s members.
New research has found its 80 clubs provide a “source of friendship” and a supportive environment for people to talk.
The results of the Farmstrong survey involving 985 farmers under 35, were presented at the AGMARDT NZ Young Farmers Conference.
A quarter of the 616 women surveyed and almost half of the 279 men were NZYF members.
The findings show 64 per cent of men and 77 per cent of women said at least one wellbeing issue had a large impact on their lives.
The challenges range from workload, to a lack of sleep and time off farm, and managing relationships.
“When we analysed the findings we found NZ Young Farmers members reported much lower levels of ‘large’ or greater negative impact than non-members on a number of items,” Farmstrong’s Gerard Vaughan told the conference.
“NZ Young Farmers clubs help people be socially connected. The research shows being actively involved in NZ Young Farmers is a good investment in your wellbeing.”
“NZ Young Farmers was frequently mentioned as a source of friendship and an opportunity to talk with people going through similar issues,” he said.
Nearly 40 per cent of women and a quarter of men thought that ‘challenges developing new relationships in the community’ were having a 'moderate' or greater impact on their wellbeing.
One survey respondent described NZ Young Farmers as “a really good support network". She said organised events made socialising with a whole lot of people easy.
"Joining the local NZ Young Farmers club has been the most beneficial thing I have done since moving to a new part of the country,” one man wrote.
“It’s something that has helped me make friends and enjoy life even when work is a battle."
NZ Young Farmers clubs hold balls, skills days, social outings, pub nights and even organise pot luck dinners so people new to an area can make friends.
The research has shown a strong link between younger farmer injuries and wellbeing issues.
Nearly a quarter of women and 28 per cent of men reported having an injury on the farm in the last 12 months.
“Of those who reported an injury, nearly two thirds of men and 69 per cent of women said wellbeing issues had been a contributing factor,” said Gerard.
Farmstrong’s tips to improve wellness and resilience include; to stay connected, eat well, get enough sleep, be active and give back.
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