Building rural resilience

by Kent Caddick

A series of workshops aimed at ensuring the mental well-being of Selwyn residents, particularly those living in rural area, will run next month.

The workshops are part of a collaboration between the Rural Canterbury Primary Health Organisation (RCPHO), the Selwyn Parenting Network (SPN) and the Mental Health Education and Resource Centre (MHERC).

Brenna Russell is the Community Connector for the Selwyn and Ashburton districts for the RCPHO.

“Often, opportunities that are available in bigger urban areas are not as accessible for rural residents,” Ms Russell said.

“This is no different when it comes to accessing information and education around mental health and wellbeing.”

As a result of the collaboration there will be a series of free community education evenings across Selwyn during the next few months.

Ms Russell said that in her role she works with isolated residents to make sure they are well connected with local community groups, social networks and other support services.

“In Darfield we will be holding a workshop called ‘Beating the Blues:

Boosting Your Communication With Others’, with guest speakers talking about the importance of communication in dealing with life’s ups and downs. 

There will also be a gatekeeper training provided by Lee-Anne Tarling from MHERC, which will provide people with practical tools around how to ask others if they need help and where to find support.

“This event is particularly suitable for parents, teachers, sports coaches and older teens.”

Guest speakers include 36-year police veteran and DARE programme facilitator Pup Chamberlain, as well as young mid-Canterbury farmer Sam Robinson who recently spoke out about his battle for mental health.

The workshop will be held in the Darfield rugby clubrooms on May 12, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. MHERC is also involved in a workshop called Resilient Kids, Resilient Teens, which will be held at the Springston Domain Pavilion on May 4.

“This workshop will be presented by Paula Partingdon,” Ms Russell said. 

“It aims to present information to parents, which will enable them to develop increased understanding and use the skills that come from this with their children to build resilience, manage challenging behaviours and resolve relational conflicts including bullying.” The workshop will also be held in Darfield later in the year.