Improving the mental health of farmers isn't just about helping men - it's about women and families too, says ACT for Ag founder Stephanie Schmidt.
While the mental health of male farmers has been a topic of discussion in recent years - particularly around high rates of suicide - she says there is little discussion heard about women's mental health.
The clinical psychologist says more work is needed to support the women who form the backbone of farming families and communities.
Ms Schmidt, who is the 2020 SA Agrifutures Rural Women's Award winner, is launching Australia's first preventative, capacity-building mental health support for women on farms.
The new initiative through ACT for Ag will provide women on farms with an online community and access to preventative psychological tools and capacity-building support designed to build resilience and improve mental health.
Launching on the July 6, the platform will be a space for rural women to connect, learn tools and share their struggles in a supportive and educational environment.
"Since winning the 2021 Safework SA Augusta Zadow Award, I've been developing the concept of a community where rural women can show up in their truth, be heard and feel supported, " Ms Schmidt said.
She says she is dedicated to improving the mental health of farmers, and sequentially improving the relationships of people living on the farm where her goal is to help rural women "let go of the struggle and embrace the juggle".
"There are always going to be challenges, but by helping farmers and the farming industry to be more resilient and more adaptable, we can learn to manage the challenges and really enjoy the rewards of the industry," Ms Schmidt said.
"One of the greatest things about ACT for Ag is this communal feeling of being supported.
"The benefits we have already seen from the work that's being done within this community are just fantastic."
The official launch of ACT for Ag will be held online and will be a celebration of what the membership will provide to its community.
Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions, connect with like-minded people, reflect on the year so far and set a vision for the remainder of the year, Ms Schmidt explains.
"Women who join the membership community will have access to monthly masterclasses, practical psychology tools, ongoing support and so many more valuable resources," Ms Schmidt said.
"Women from all over Australia are invited to join us and I can't wait to meet them."
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