The FarmWell Longitudinal Study is working with Sustainable Farms to investigate links between environmental management, mental health, and economic outcomes in Australian farmers. It was set up to research these links in more detail using the existing ecological data (supplemented by remote sensing data), as well as self-report data that we’ll collect through online surveys from farmers and graziers.
We’re inviting all farmers and graziers who have previously been involved in ecological research projects by the Fenner School, as well as people who have previously been part of the Box Gum Grassy Woodlands Conservation Management Network to participate.
If you decide you’d like to participate, we will invite you to complete a baseline survey, which consists of questions around your background, your financial situation, your farm operations, and your mental health and wellbeing. Once you’ve completed this survey, we’ll send you 3 follow-up surveys, each 6 months apart. All the data we collect is treated confidentially and stored separately from your contact information, and that you will be free to withdraw your participation at any time without consequences. Full details about this study are provided to all potential participants in a Participant Information Statement and all participants are required to sign an online consent form prior to participation.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why should I participate?
We set up the FarmWell Longitudinal Study to research links between environmental management, mental health, and economic outcomes in farmers. To do this, the FarmWell Longitudinal Study will create a unique dataset that contains a mixture of ecological data, remote sensing data and self-report data from our participants. We are unaware of any other such datasets and therefore believe this study will provide a better understanding of the relationships between environmental management, mental health, and economic outcomes, as well as inform the development of tools that can assist farmers in these three areas down the track. To be able to make this study a success, we need as many participants as possible so we can look at a range of different farm-types and other characteristics, which is why we need you!
If I participate, what will I need to do?
We invite participants to:
1) Complete our baseline survey online. This takes approximately 30 minutes and asks about your background, your finances, your mental health and wellbeing, and your farm operations.
2) Complete 3 follow-up surveys. You’ll receive invitations for these via email 6 months, 12 months and 18 months after completing the baseline survey. We may also send you reminders to complete these surveys. These surveys will take approximately 15-20 minutes each.
How do I withdraw my participation?
You are free to withdraw at any time. You can do this by contacting the research team, Phil Batterham, Bregje (Bree) van Spijker, or Alyssa Morse, via email or phone (firstname.lastname@example.org or 1800 854 080). We would also like to emphasise that withdrawing from the FarmWell Longitudinal Study doesn’t impact on your involvement or relationship with Sustainable Farms. Data collected up until your withdrawal will be destroyed, unless you are happy for us to keep it, which we will ask you.
I don’t have any mental health problems – should I participate?
Yes. We are interested in why some farmers have excellent well-being, while other farmers may struggle at times. So we are interested in responses from a range of people, including people who have experienced mental health difficulties and those who have not.
Is this study the same as the Regional Wellbeing Survey or other research projects?
No it is not. While we are collaborating with other researchers who conduct related studies, this project is unique. No other study is measuring both biodiversity and mental health outcomes among the same individuals, and no other study has up to 20 years of ecological data to draw from. Furthermore, few current studies in farming communities are measuring specific mental health outcomes and how they might be related to the farm environment and profitability.
I haven’t been on this farm for very long – should I participate?
Yes, we are interested in your experience even if you’ve been living on a farm with ecological monitoring for only a short time. We will be following participants up over time to see how their mental health and wellbeing changes, and whether this is related to changes in the environment.
What will you do with my survey responses?
Your survey responses will be treated confidentially at all times and stored separately from your contact information. We will use your responses to study various links between environmental management, mental health and economic outcomes by using a variety of data analyses techniques. Results of these analyses will be used in presentations, scientific publications, and reports to research funders. At all times, results will be presented in anonymous form so that they cannot be traced back to you.
Can I please have a paper copy of your survey rather than an online version?
Yes of course - just let the research team know if you'd prefer to receive our materials on paper and they will happily organise this for you.
Who is conducting this project / who is responsible?
This study is led by researchers at the Centre for Mental Health Research at The Australian National University, specifically by Dr Bregje (Bree) van Spijker and Assoc Prof Phil Batterham. They both have extensive experience in conducting online surveys such as used in this study.
My question is not on this list, how do I contact you for more information?
Please contact Bree, Alyssa or Phil by emailing email@example.com or calling 1800 854 080