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Farmer who's experienced his own struggles urges others to 'get talking' about mental health

A farmer of 28 years is encouraging others to talk about their mental health after experiencing his own struggles. 

Farmer milking cows - stock image Source: istock.com

Marc Gascoigne told Breakfast he had struggled with depression and anxiety on and off for 22 years. 

However, he did not seek help until he had a "massive panic attack" six years ago, which he described as a breaking point.

Although he received support through Farmstrong, he did not speak up publicly about his struggles until his nephew, who was also a farmer, took his own life.

Agriculture may be the country's biggest exporter, but farming is one of the most high-risk industries.

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Marc Gascoigne tells fellow farmers, “don’t be stuck in the rut on the farm” and to seek help if they are struggling. Source: Breakfast

Last year alone, there were 23,000 farm-related injuries.

An ACC funded study for Farmstrong also showed 58 per cent of injured farmers linked their accident to stress associated with farm work. 

Gascoigne said it was hugely important for farmers to get off the farm and connect with other people.

"Don't be stuck in the rut on the farm."

He said to "get talking", farmers could reach out to their GP or contact the Rural Support Trust or Farmstrong. 

Source: TVNZ