Educating farm contractors in mental health first aid could help farmers suffering from anxiety and depression to seek help, AgResearch says.
The Crown Research Institute is carrying out a seven-year study into what causes farmer stress with the aim of putting better support in place for farming communities.
The study, now in its second year, has revealed that about 17% of the 1000 dairy farmers interviewed had experienced depression or anxiety and half did not seek help.
Neels Botha, who is leading the study, says a solution could be training a fertiliser representative, for example, to look for signs of depression.
Dr Botha says the study has identified four main causes of stress among farmers - money worries, workload, relationships and health problems.