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Aiming to boost mental wellbeing

Aiming to boost mental wellbeing

Craig 'Wiggy' Wiggins, with former Māori All Black Slade McFarland, is hoping to arm rural professionals with tools to help their colleagues and clients with mental wellness.

They’re hosting an Agriconnect seminar at the Ashburton MSA on May 8.

"It's basically for all rural service industries,” Wiggins says.

"Slade and myself will be showing what mental and physical health support is available within the Mid Canterbury area."

Wiggins said that rural professionals such as vets, agronomists, bank managers and contractors are on the front line and are often the first to notice if a farmer or co-worker is struggling.

The seminar also aims to educate those in the rural sector on what signs to look for when someone needs help.

"They are the ones who see the subtle signs that farmers aren't trucking too well, but they also have their own pressures with the economic downturn.

"A lot of those in the rural service industry will tell you they are doing a lot of counselling, and a lot of conversations are landing on their doorsteps, and they may not know what to do or where to go with those conversations."

The event will utilise local resources such as counsellors, the Rural Support Trust and doctors within the region.

The daytime Agriconnect event will be followed by an evening with Wiggins and McFarland.

The focus will be on McFarland's journey leaving a career as a professional sportsman and how to foster a good culture within a sports club or workplace.

Both events are open to the general public and are free to attend, but Wiggins hopes to attract corporate sponsorship to cover operating costs and hold future seminars.

"We need some of these big companies to get behind it.

"It's a really easy way for them to get mental health training into their businesses, and we can supply follow-up support afterwards."

“If we had a handful of companies donate $500 each that would really help us out with food and logistics."

More information about the events can be found on the Whatever with Wiggy Facebook page.

By Claire Inkson