Rural health experts from the University of South Australia have launched an ifarmwell online resource aimed at helping farmers develop healthy romantic relationships. 

This new module, “Building healthy relationships,” offers a research-based, concise program that can be completed in 30 to 60 minutes. It’s designed to empower farmers with tools to evaluate the health of their romantic relationships, uncover methods to enhance the quality of these relationships, and learn effective techniques for resolving conflicts during tough times.

Dr. Chloe Fletcher, a UniSA Research Fellow, revealed the distinctive challenges farmers and their partners face, such as isolation and the demanding nature of farm life. These unique pressures can intensify relationship dynamics, potentially escalating stress and mental health issues if not addressed with care.



John Gladigau, a third-generation farmer, lent his insights to fine-tune the module, ensuring its content was highly relevant to those in the agricultural sector. The module is rich with practical strategies and tips, such as activities for assessing and enriching relationship quality, enhancing emotional closeness with partners, and managing conflict and stress more effectively.

Participants of the module have shared positive feedback, highlighting its impact on their personal and professional lives. One farmer remarked, “I thought it was very well done, and it really made me think more about understanding what my husband thinks and how he’s feeling, and to ask more questions and not to just presume.” Another echoed the sentiment, praising the module for its comprehensive approach to relationship dynamics, “It’s such an important module. It so well captures relationships and works through the emotional aspects in a down-to-earth manner. It gave me a lot to think about.” This feedback underscores the module’s effectiveness in fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation among partners, even in the face of adversity.

Further emphasising the module’s significance, a participant shared, “…success is a whole lot less exciting when you are on your own and tough times are even tougher when your relationship is breaking down… Strong relationships are not just integral to success but essential. Farmers come with amazing problem-solving skills but those skills are often not used when it comes to relationships.” This insight reflects the core belief of the module: investing in relationship health is crucial, not just for personal happiness, but also for the overall success and resilience of farming enterprises.



Ifarmwell recognises that the module alone may not meet all the needs of every farming couple, suggesting additional resources and support to supplement the program. Telehealth options, such as Rural Aid and Rural Health Connect, offer accessible mental health and counselling services to farmers and their families, acknowledging the difficulties in accessing such support in rural areas.

The “Building healthy relationships” module on the ifarmwell platform marks a significant step forward in supporting farmers to maintain strong, healthy relationships amidst the challenges of farm life. It emphasises the importance of relationship health as a pillar of overall well being, interlinking personal happiness, mental health, and farm productivity. For more information and to access this invaluable resource, visit

To learn more about challenges to farmers’ mental health, click here.