Mental health awareness more important than ever

The NFU is joining the Farm Safety Foundation’s #MindYourHead campaign to raise awareness of mental health at what is an incredibly challenging time, and to encourage members to make their mental health and wellbeing a priority.

This year’s campaign also coincides with RABI’s Big Farming Survey which aims to provide a comprehensive picture of mental health and wellbeing within farming – the first of its kind.

For NFU Deputy President Stuart Roberts, this week is a chance for farmers to open up the conversation around mental health as well as taking that crucial first step for those who need support. Stuart said:

“Like many business owners, farmers can struggle with stress, worries and anxiety, and over the past 12 months we have been under constant threat from the coronavirus pandemic which has changed how the whole country operates.

“The pandemic will no doubt have taken its toll on our mental health but help is at hand. For many people, the first step is recognising when there is a problem and talking to someone about it and, where needed, getting professional help.

“Thankfully, the farming community has a multitude of strong support networks such as RABI, FCN and YANA which have maintained their telephone help lines throughout the pandemic.

“While opportunities to meet in person are few and far between at the moment, we can still do more to look out for one another and provide support to family and friends who might otherwise suffer in silence. An arm around the shoulder might be off the cards but a phone call or a video chat with a cuppa can be just as beneficial.

“There are also plenty of ways we can try to maintain good health and wellbeing, and this must be something that works for us individually. For me, this means getting outside for some exercise, eating well, having fun with the family and just taking some quiet time for myself away from the hustle and bustle of the farm.

“These may not work for everyone. For others, it might be talking to someone you trust about anxieties or worries, setting up a regular video call to catch up with family or friends, or ringing one of the helplines for support – the key is to take that important first step and to seek ways to help you and those around you.”

Visit the Yellow Wellies website for more information on the campaign.

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