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New online resource launched to support rural agribusiness owners wellbeing

Everymind is pleased to launch an online resource to support the wellbeing of small agribusiness owners working in Australia’s agriculture, forestry and fishing industry.

The new Rural Agribusiness Wellbeing Plan is a free practical tool developed to help agribusiness owners reflect on what they currently do to support their wellbeing, and help them identify new ways to improve and maintain their mental health.

When compared to medium and large businesses, small businesses in agriculture, forestry and fishing employ the largest proportion of people of all industries in Australia. These businesses also face a range of unique challenges including those associated with living remotely such as isolation and difficulty accessing mental health services; challenges associated with running a small business including long hours and difficulty taking time off; as well as adverse weather events, and pest and disease outbreaks. These factors can all impact the mental health and wellbeing of small agribusiness owners in rural and remote Australia.

To explore the specific difficulties faced, Everymind conducted a survey of agribusiness owners in rural NSW. Findings from the initial consultation were used to inform the design of the new resource, tailored to the specific needs and context. Key findings included:

  • Top five stressors identified by agribusiness owners were adverse weather events, financial difficulties, red tape, long hours and work-life balance. These factors have formed the focus areas of the new wellbeing plan.
  • Strategies most commonly used to manage mental health and wellbeing by agribusiness owners were making time to see family and friends, physical activity and exercise, and spending time on personal interests. These activities have been incorporated as important actions in the wellbeing plan.
  • 70% of rural agribusiness owners are most likely to look online for mental health support. The new wellbeing plan has been designed as a digital resource and directs users to other sources of supporting information online.

To ensure the new resource was fit-for-purpose, Everymind also conducted user-testing, engaging further rural agribusiness owners to complete the draft plan. Feedback provided on areas including usability and relevance was used to refine and finalise the plan.

Everymind Director, Dr Jaelea Skehan OAM says the plan is the latest in the suite of resources for small business owners delivered through the Institute’s Ahead for Business program, this time designed specifically to support those in agribusiness.

“The new plan is research-led, based on the distinct challenges faced by those working in agriculture, forestry and fishing. It has been co-designed by agribusiness owners for agribusiness owners, and provides a simple and practical-approach to support mental health,” Dr Skehan said.

“We know through our work, that good mental health is linked to increased productivity and positive business outcomes. And we encourage anyone working in agribusiness who would like to learn how to better manage the day-to-day stress of work, as well as more challenging times to access the plan via aheadforbusiness.org.au

The Rural Agribusiness Wellbeing Plan was developed by Everymind with the assistance of the New South Wales Government through the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA).

To learn more, visit: aheadforbusiness.org.au/agribusiness-wellbeing-plan

Published: 23 August 2023

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