As part of Mental Health Awareness Week CLA Land Use Policy Adviser, Fraser McAuley, outlines how and where farmers can seek help to discuss their mental health and wellbeing.
It is more than likely that all of us have experienced mental health issues, whether personally or through those we care about. Now more than ever it is vital we remove the stigma of talking about our mental health and well being and seek help when we need it. As it is mental health awareness week it is a good time for the CLA to play its part in encouraging more conversation about this important issue and signpost the help available to our members.
Working on farms, while rewarding in many ways, can be lonely and leave us feeling isolated. Lonely Sunday afternoons in the milking parlour or on a solitary tractor in a distant field can make us feel like we are the only one struggling with the difficulties of running a business. Combined with the ongoing uncertainty of the Brexit saga, input prices going up and down and the changing price paid for agricultural products, it is little wonder there is concern around many farmers’ mental health. Typical common answers from farmers asked of their wellbeing are often “I’ll keep plodding on”, “I’ll be fine when calving/harvest finishes” or “there are others much worse off than me”. We should all remember that our mental health is just as important as our physical health and we should not be scared to discuss it with friends or family or seek professional help.
There have been some brilliant campaigns recently focussing attention on how to get help and the yellowwellies “mind your head “campaign has been one of them. There is also help available via the amazing work of the Farming Community Network (FCN), the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) and the Samaritans with the links provided below. Members of the CLA staff team have attended an FCN workshop day which was a great insight into the work they do and while none of us can provide mental health advice we can point you to the professionals and organisations who can.
Farming Community Network http://fcn.org.uk/
Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution https://rabi.org.uk/
Farm Safety Foundation https://www.yellowwellies.org