Rural Agribusiness Wellbeing Plan

Posted 14th November 2023 in Sector news

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. Small business owners in rural and remote Australia face unique challenges and stressors that can impact their wellbeing. Challenges associated with running a small business in rural and remote Australia that can impact the mental health and wellbeing of agribusiness owners include long hours, the impact of adverse weather events, pest and disease outbreaks, financial pressures and limited access to mental health services.

Everymind, with the assistance of the New South Wales Government through the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA), has launched the Rural Agribusiness Wellbeing Plan to help small business owners in rural Australia support their own wellbeing. This free, practical, online tool was developed to help agribusiness owners reflect on what they currently do to support their wellbeing and help to identify new ways to improve and maintain their mental health.

The Wellbeing Plan was developed from the findings of consultation with agribusiness owners in NSW.

Consultation findings showed that:

  • The top five stressors identified by agribusiness owners were adverse weather events, financial difficulties, red tape, long hours and work-life balance.
  • Strategies most commonly used to manage mental health and wellbeing by agribusiness owners included making time to see family and friends, physical activity and exercise, and spending time on personal interests.
  • 70% of rural agribusiness owners are most likely to look online for mental health support.

The Rural Agribusiness Wellbeing Plan has incorporated the consultation findings into its design and content, as well as conducting user testing with additional rural agribusiness owners to refine the plan and its actions to support the wellbeing of agribusiness owners' wellbeing.

Agribusiness owners complete a series of questions and are provided with suggested actions and strategies to help manage specific work-related factors that may be causing stress and impacting wellbeing. It can help agribusiness owners prioritise things like exercise, interests and spending time with family and friends as important ways to look after their wellbeing. It also directs them to specific resources and support to tackle the specific challenges they are facing at work.

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