Lincoln Uni gets behind Farmstrong

This year’s Coast to Coast was the perfect opportunity for Lincoln University lecturer Dan Smith to give a shout out to Farmstrong.

Dan’s been working closely with Farmstrong over the past few years to help promote wellbeing among his students.

He had Farmstrong stickers plastered on the side of his kayak during the gruelling race to help promote the work Farmstrong does.

“It really motivated me knowing I was promoting Farmstrong like that. This Coast to Coast was the slowest one I’ve done, but it was also the best because I didn’t fall out of my kayak,” says Dan, who teaches Agribusiness.

Lincoln University’s connection with Farmstrong began after Dan reached out to them for advice on how to promote the importance of wellbeing to its agriculture students.

Dan, a Lincoln University alumni, worked as a farm consultant and in the banking industry before becoming a lecturer.

“I was very aware of depression, loneliness and financial stress in the farming industry from growing up rurally and from my work experience,” he says.

He’s passionate about rural mental health and giving students the information, tools and resources, they need to look after their wellbeing.

“When I came back to Lincoln to teach, I was determined to prepare students for challenges they might face in the industry and for them to know how to look after their wellbeing.”

And Farmstrong was the perfect fit to help achieve that, Dan says.

Farmstrong content well received

Agriculture students engage with Farmstrong several times during the course of their degree or diploma.

“We incorporate Farmstrong resources into the course work, and Farmstrong gives presentations with guest speakers, including farmers who have faced adversity and got through. We also incorporate content into exams and assignments.”

Dan says the Farmstrong component of the course is very well received by students.

“Talking about mental health and wellbeing is a lot more common these days so they are open to learning about it.

“If, several years down the track, they need to call on what they’ve learnt about wellbeing, then that’s all we can ask for.”

Dan says he feels a responsibility towards his students, who are going out into a tough industry.

“We really care about our students, and I think we have as much responsibility to teach them about wellbeing as we do about farming practices,” he says.

“If one student, one day, looks on the Farmstrong website and reaches out, that’s all I want. You only have to help one person, then it’s all worth it.”

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