Harvesting hope: Craig Wiggins on navigating farm life, family + community support

Harvesting hope: Craig Wiggins on navigating farm life, family + community support

Rural mental health and well-being advocate Craig 'Wiggy' Wiggins joins Dom George offering a glimpse into the demanding yet fulfilling world of farming in Canterbury. As the grain harvest comes in, Wiggy shares the reality of working through a dry season and how he maintains balance by treasuring family time. 

"You need to make it happen, otherwise you end up not enjoying what you're put on life to do, and that is to actually be part of your community and be part of your family." 

The conversation shifts to Wiggy's initiative, 'Lean on a Gate, Talk to a Mate,' which is making significant strides in improving mental health support in rural communities. Wiggy's enthusiasm for the cause is palpable as he discusses the positive impact of community events and the importance of staying connected. 

The upcoming plans for the initiative are robust, including health checks and educational talks aimed at fostering resilience. 

"We've had some good help with that and there's a lot of information on there."

"If people need to or just even want to have a look at that website, there's plenty of information for your mental health and wellbeing."

Wiggy also touches upon the harness racing industry and its role in his mental health, where he enjoys the contrast from his usual farm duties. 

"I get out there and ride my horse around for six to seven hours and watch a few races... just keep the day going and there's some really good people involved in that industry," he shares. 

George reciprocates by discussing his own holiday experiences and the joy of working outdoors. Wiggy then observes a broader trend of people seeking local entertainment, which he sees as a positive shift towards community engagement. 

This ties back to Wiggy's advocacy for local support networks, as he emphasises the importance of reaching out during tough times.

"It's a matter of actually making sure that you realise you're not the only one in this boat." 

Concluding the episode, Wiggy encourages those in the grain industry to take care of themselves during the busy season, offering a piece of sage advice, "If you're tired, just make sure you can try and get out of that space for five minutes. Have a breather." 

The episode wraps up with a reminder of the significance of community support in the demanding world of farming.

Listen to the full chat between Craig Wiggins and Dominic George above.

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