24 November 2016
Mental health is very much in the news at the moment as the NHS service becomes increasingly stretched, but one small charity in Norfolk is well established in providing support and information for the farming industry.
Ten years ago, following the tragic death of a highly regarded Norfolk farmer, the Directors of the Clan Trust (a Norfolk farming charity) were determined to do something positive to help in the field of mental health awareness. After 18 months of research into what could help, The YANA Project was launched in 2008. You Are Not Alone was so named because one in five people will suffer from a mental health problem at some point in their lives, but You Are Not Alone because help is available.
YANA essentially acts as a signposting service – ensuring that those involved in agriculture in any way are aware of the symptoms of depression and are encouraged to see their GP promptly.
It also provides a confidential helpline for those working in the farming and all allied trades in Norfolk and Suffolk. Callers can speak to a doctor or a counsellor within 48 hours in total confidence. The YANA Project can also fund up to six sessions of counselling either with a professionally qualified counsellor arranged by the patient’s GP or by YANA.
Project co-ordinator, Jo Hoey, reports that over 80,000 leaflets and cards have been distributed at agricultural events since it launched and much has been done to remove the stigma of mental health problems as a consequence.
"Depression is an illness, not a weakness," Jo says. "Like any other illness, seeking help promptly is a major step forward. Our website provides excellent information on the symptoms of depression, which anyone might find useful and it also has advice for those who might be seriously concerned about a friend or colleague who might be in crisis. Our funding for counselling is invaluable at a time when it can be difficult to access therapy via the NHS. Details for accessing funding can be found on our website."