SA Rural Womens Award winner launches farmer wellbeing program

SA Rural Womens Award winner launches farmer wellbeing program

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2020 SA Rural Womens Award winner Stephanie Schmidt has launched her ACTFORAG program.

2020 SA Rural Womens Award winner Stephanie Schmidt has launched her ACTFORAG program.

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SA Rural Womens Award winner Stephanie Schmidt has launched her ACTFORAG program.

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THE 2020 SA AgriFutures Rural Womens Award winner Stephanie Schmidt has used her $10,000 bursary to launch the pilot for her ACTFORAG program.

ACTFORAG provides practical skills to learn to thrive in adversity, with the aim of building resilient farmers, families and businesses.

"The program provides practical, easy-to-use strategies to manage the challenges that life throws at us and skills to choose to do what is most important to us," Ms Schmidt said.

"The program is developed for farmers, farming couples/families and rural communities to build skills to manage stress and daily challenges and is open to individuals as well as couples or farming families to take part in together."

Ms Schmidt is a clinical psychologist, farmer, wife and mother, who runs a family farm with her husband and two young sons.

She is passionate about building the strength and resilience of farmers and rural communities and combines her psychological knowledge and lived experience of farming in this new program.

"I recognise my unique position as a clinical psychologist and a farmer," she said.

"I understand the challenges of rural life and the importance of looking after our own wellbeing every day.

"After the birth of my first son I experienced postnatal depression and have experienced firsthand what a difference it can make for myself, my family and our business when I practice these strategies every day.

"The program focuses on building skills in psychological flexibility, which in a nutshell, is the ability to be in challenging situations, step back from difficult thoughts and feelings, and choose to do what is most important to you. For example this might be as simple as setting a goal to connect with your partner everyday via a text message or phone call, even if you are feeling tired, stressed or frustrated."

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While the program was initially developed with an aim of running face-to-face sessions, due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, the program will be run via online video conferencing platform Zoom.

This has potential wider benefits with being able to deliver the program across a number of geographical locations.

But the pilot program will focus on supporting drought-affected regions in SA.

Eligible council areas include: Upper North (Peterborough, Flinders Ranges, Orroroo/Carrington, Mt Remarkable, Goyder), North East Pastoral (Pastoral Unincorporated Area), Northern Yorke Peninsula (Copper Coast), Murray Mallee (Mid Murray, Loxton/Waikerie, Renmark Paringa, Karoonda East Murray, Coorong, Murray Bridge), Eyre Peninsula (Franklin Harbour, Cleve, Kimba, Streaky Bay, Wudinna, Ceduna).

Limited spaces are available, but you can also register your interest for future programs.

The pilot will begin on Thursday, June 11 via Zoom and includes three 90-minute weekly sessions.

As a pilot program, participants will be required to complete brief evaluation questions and provide feedback.

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