Matt Shirtcliffe speaks openly about the suicide of his farmer wife Mary in May this year. Matt has begun a campaign to help overcome farmer isolation.
Federated Farmers says in a twelve month period from 2013 to 2014, 22 farmers committed suicide comprising of 15 men and seven women. Six farmers were aged under 24 and ten were over the age of 50.
Matt Shirtcliffe says isolation and stress among farmers is rife, and he says it's people like rural bankers, seed and fertiliser suppliers and livestock agents who see farmers on a regular basis - who can provide crucial support, just by having empathy and being a listening ear. He wants any organisation whose frontline staff interact with farmers to pick up the challenge.
Where to get help:
- The Mental Health Foundation's free service 09 623 4812 will refer callers to some of the helplines below:
- Lifeline - 0800 543 354
- Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
- Healthline - 0800 611 116
- Samaritans - 0800 726 666 (Lower North Island, Christchurch, West Coast) or 0800 211 211 or 04 473 9739 (other regions)