“There’s a sheep marauding around a garden centre in Lancashire”, announced the FCN helpline caller, “Can you help?”.
The next call was from someone recently bereaved by suicide.
Most of the people who call FCN’s helpline are experiencing stress and anxiety, which are usually caused by a complex mix of issues – although not often livestock and garden centres!
We can all experience pressure at times in our lives. It might be occasional, temporary and manageable.
For others, it can be more regular and something that triggers feelings of being overwhelmed. Wherever one is on the scale, it is important to remember that stress and anxiety are common and many people in our industry would recognise these regular, if unwelcome, visitors.
Things build up. Family, finances, TB worries, insufficient feed, and then the farm assurance inspector shows up and the pressure cooker reaches capacity.
Pressure cookers have valves for a good reason and we need one too. It might be going for a run, taking some time out, talking to a friend, or calling one of the farm support organisations’ helplines.
This is especially important at times of change, where there will be additional challenges and decisions that add to the mental load. Navigating the agricultural transition, understanding the options and how they apply to you, whilst accommodating the daily farm work, can add another layer of stress and uncertainty. But help and support is available.
Whether it’s finding the time and confidence to take the first steps or help to unravel complicated family differences about the future, there are people here to offer support and connect you with professionals if needed.
The most important thing is to remember that you are not alone.
FCN is a community network of local support from people who understand farming issues. FCN also stands for friendly, confidential and non-judgemental, each of which underpins our approach.
If transition is causing you stress, please start a conversation by calling us on 03000 111 999 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if there’s a sheep marauding around your garden centre, can we suggest a calming cup of coffee until the management sorts it out!
Mark Thomas (email@example.com), staff member at The Farming Community Network (FCN).