Touring resilience expert to give free talk

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A safety, wellness and resilience specialist touring rural New Zealand will also speak to secondary school pupils during his visit to Oamaru.

Lance Burdett is being taken to locations throughout the country by Rural Support Trusts and the Ministry for Primary Industries. The South Island leg follows a popular series of talks in the North Island, where he helped people understand pressures on their brains and how to cope with them.

Mr Burdett’s credentials include working with Police, the military, emergency services, prisons and the United States’ FBI. During 13 years as a crisis negotiator and instructor for the New Zealand police, he specialised in suicide prevention and predicting violent behaviour.

Now, he is using that expertise, his own mental health experiences, and his studies of the mind to advise rural people on how to overcome challenges such as isolation and change.

Mr Burdett will explain why humans remember and exaggerate negative things, why we worry, and how self-talk can spiral down into negativity.

Then he presents tips and tricks that can be used to help yourself and others.

“Working with these rural people is especially important, because isolation can really make things worse if our stress is kept inside our heads,” Mr Burdett said.

“The challenge for rural people is if they talk about their worries it’s often only with their partner or workers who have the same concerns, and it goes round in circles.

“It’s all about showing people how to control their busy mind .. and get some tools to help deal with those negative thoughts.”

Otago Rural Support Trust administrator Andrea Ludemann said Mr Burdett’s community session at the Waitaki Boys’ High School auditorium at 7.30pm on May 13 is open to everyone, free of charge.

Earlier in the day, pupils from all three Oamaru secondary schools will have their own session with Mr Burdett.