Australian food and baking brands have joined together for #PlateForAMate 2022, a campaign to support the mental health of the country’s farmers.

The campaign, which consists of a series of short films encouraging people to share meals together as means of bolstering a healthy outlook, is being produced by MGI Entertainment. Viewers are being encouraged to donate to the Black Dog Institute, an organisation that seeks to help people with depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses.

While at least a fifth of Australians experience mental illness each year, the number vastly increases in rural communities, with almost 70% of people living in those areas experiencing depression and anxiety in the last two years.

Byron Keane, General Manager of Content at MGI Entertainment, said: “It’s no secret that community is not what it used to be, the village is gone and many people find themselves alone in our globalised single-order delivery society, yet right under the surface of the mental health pandemic is a vaccine tested and approved over millennia: sharing food together.”

As part of the videos, products from brands such as Green’s BakingNorco Co-operativeDelite MandarinsHumpty Doo BarramundiThree Threes Condiments and Our Cow are being prepared by a selection of well-known chefs and passionate cooks. Viewers will be provided with recipes alongside anecdotes, memories and insights from the videos’ presenters.

Those presenting the videos include Manu and Clarissa Feildel, Orazio D’Elia, Jason Roberts, Diana Chan, Sarah Todd, Tom Walton, presenter James Tobin, former AFL player and anti-racism advocate Adam Goodes, singer-songwriter Dami Im and comedian Dilruk Jayasinha.

“Mental illness is so prevalent, so it’s imperative we have continued conversations about it. For me the relationship between food and wellness is inseparable, so I am very excited to be involved in this project,” said Manu Feildel.

Sarah Connor, Head of Service Engagement and Operations at the Black Dog Institute, said: “We are so pleased that #PlateForAMate is aligning with us and has prioritised delivering mental health training in regional and rural communities through the Black Dog Institute.

“At the institute, we carry out research to learn how best to offer mental health support and translate that research into programs and services which can help so many people, wherever they are based in Australia. We know that preventative measures and catching signs early are key to help, and that’s why we offer mental health training programs in locations where support may be limited.”

This is the third year that the #PlateForAMate event has run. In 2021, it raised $160,000 to combat rising food insecurity as a result of COVID-19.

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This article was published in Food Processing, you can find the original here.