Regenerative graziers, Stephanie Trethewey and Stephanie Schmidt, are teaming up to speak up about perinatal mental health on a live online talk series, Walk with Me, next month.
Walk with Me is hosted by Aussie-founded AgTech company, MaiaGrazing. It featured the mental health journey of a prolific grazier Stuart Austin, of Wilmot Cattle Co, in its inaugural episode in November.
MaiaGrazing chief executive officer Peter Richardson said while recent studies had shown that up to 1 out of 6 women experience perinatal depression, the combination of the impact of COVID-19 and increased isolation in rural communities would suggest that this statistic is higher among the farming community.
"Using our platform to help graziers share stories on mental health is one way for us to contribute to the well-being of our well-loved community," he said.
Stephanie Trethewey, co-founder of Tasmanian Agricultural Company, launched the Motherland Australia podcast in December 2019 after struggling with her own mental health and feeling incredibly isolated as a new rural mum.
Stephanie will be leading the conversation on perinatal mental health on Walk with Me; drawing from her deep chest of almost 100 interviews with rural mothers from across the country.
"Mums are the backbone of our rural communities and are often the glue that holds everything together," she said.
"Unfortunately many rural women face crippling isolation and struggle with their own mental health due to their location, or a lack of local services and support.
"It's my hope that by breaking the stigma surrounding motherhood and mental health on the land, we can start to uncover what is really required to create meaningful change for rural mums across Australia and give them the support they desperately need."
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Award-winning SA clinical psychologist and grazier, Stephanie Schmidt, won the 2020 SA AgriFutures Rural Women's Award for her program designed to create resilience among the farming community.
She joins Trethewey on Walk with Me to provide a professional perspective on perinatal mental health.
"Being in a farming family has given me a unique perspective on perinatal mental health, as I've experienced postnatal depression twice after the birth of my first and third sons," she said.
"This lived insight has helped me in my practice. I now have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the challenges that rural moms and dads encounter that may exacerbate and prolong depression.
"I hope that by coming on Walk with Me, I can help rural parents recognise and address the signs of anxiety and depression so they can get the help they need."
MaiaGrazing will be donating $2 for every registrant to Walk with Me to Gidget Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation providing perinatal mental health programs.
The 45-minute Walk with Me: On the Shoulders of Mothers session will be held online on September 8 at 8pm AEST.
The event is free. Register at maiagrazing.com/walk-with-me-mothers-shoulders/
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