Primary Producer Knowledge Network: Preventing risks to mental health for farmers and fishers

20 May 2021
10:30 - 11:10

Primary Producer Knowledge Network: Preventing risks to mental health for farmers and fishers

Victoria’s primary producers (including farmers and fishers) are a vulnerable workforce in industries undergoing significant transition, and experience a wide range of workplace-related mental health challenges. Vulnerability stems from an ageing and reducing workforce, rapidly increasing technological demands, exposure to a global marketplace and increasing uncertainty – with links to psychological distress and suicide risk.

This presentation describes a project working with farmers, fishers and industry partners to co-design, develop and evaluate a website, social media platforms and interactive face-to-face training modules to foster sustainable change across primary industries. The Primary Producer Knowledge Network has a primary prevention focus and is tailored to reflect the needs of a range of industry groups (e.g. fishing, dairy farming, cropping, livestock farming, etc.) and a range of age cohorts across Victoria. The holistic primary prevention approach addresses workplace-related factors impacting primary producers’ health, wellbeing and safety.

Main areas of focus during the presentation will include the delivery and evaluation of an entirely online co-design process (during COVID-19 restrictions) and the design and piloting of an interactive digital platform. Challenges and recommendations will be discussed for application to a range of industries and population groups where health and safety are of concern.

The project authors should be listed as follows:Dr Alison Kennedy (presenting author), Dr Timo Dietrich,Dr Joanna Macdonald, Dr Cath Cosgrave,          Dr Kate Gunn ,Professor Susan Brumby, Ms Claire McKay