CLA East Regional Surveyor Claire Wright says it is crucial that people living in rural communities are aware of the support available to them if they are struggling with their mental health.
Claire’s comments come after she attended a two-day mental health first aid training course organised and funded by the charity The YANA (You Are Not Alone) project which included presentations and practical strategies on how to help those who may be suffering from stress or depression.
The CLA is a membership organisation that represents around 30,000 farmers, landowners and rural businesses across England and Wales. In her role as a rural surveyor Claire regularly meets members and believes that being aware of the signs that someone may be in need of some extra support is a crucial skill.
YANA is a charity covering Norfolk and Suffolk that provides confidential support and funding for counselling to those in farming who may be affected by stress and depression. The charity says those who work in agriculture are often reluctant to seek help if they are struggling with their mental health.
Speaking following her training Claire said:
“Mental health issues can creep up on anyone at any time and knowing where to turn for help is not always easy.
“People in rural areas often live in very isolated locations and don't always seek the support that is available to them during periods of stress or depression.
“For many people in the countryside their home is often also their place of work. This can make it particularly difficult to find a way to escape daily pressures that can build up.
"That is why it is important to raise awareness of the work of YANA and other regional support groups who provide support in this area.
“Through my training with YANA, and by the CLA working closely with the charity, we will continue to highlight this important issue. It cannot be ignored and helping people to discover the support that is available to them is incredibly important. You don't need to suffer in silence."
Helen Bibby, administrator for The YANA Project, said:
“Through the training YANA wanted to establish a real network of people involved with the farming and rural sectors of Norfolk and Suffolk who would be trained Mental Health First Aiders and the CLA was a key player in this.
“Alongside the CLA, participants on the course included the NFU, YFC, RABI, Brown & Co, and Easton and Otley College. They formed a really cohesive team who now very much want to fulfil our aim of increasing collaboration concerning rural mental health between the various groups.”
Anyone wishing to access the support from YANA can call the charity’s confidential helpline 0300 323 0400 or visit www.yanahelp.org. Funding for counselling can be put in place within a few days.
The YANA Project has also compiled a National Directory of Support Groups available here.