[24 August/ Radio NZ Rural]

Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand Chief Executive, Michelle Thompson said the recently announced $500,000 funding boost for mental health initiatives was a good start, but more funding was needed to solve complex mental health issues. The Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand is to work with the Ministry of Health to run workshops around the country to increase the skills of doctors and nurses as well as farm consultants and stock agents. Ms Thompson said the focus of the workshops was to screen patients for suicide risk, a growing issue in rural areas due to the impact of low dairy payout’s and adverse weather events.