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From the editor: In these strange times, asking for help can be a crucial step

These are strange times for farming as it continues to deal with a range of external factors over which it has no control.

 

Whether it is Brexit, the vegan campaign against farmers, or the weather, they all add another layer of pressure to the daily grind of agriculture and life in general.

That is why this week’s interview with new Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute (RABI) chief executive Alicia Chivers is a timely reminder of the support on offer for members of the farming and rural community, be it via RABI, its Scottish counterpart RSABI, or a host of other organisations which provide outreach services.

 

For many farmers, however, the challenge is not knowing these organisations exist, it is overcoming the fear of asking for help in the first place.

 

In response to a Farmers Guardian article on the impact Field Nurse was having in the auction marts in terms of getting farmers to speak about their health problems, one reader told a member of our team that feelings had no place in farming and that it was time to ‘man up and shut up’.

 

Macho? Tough? Or actually a sign of weakness to think like that? You will have your own perspective, but to avoid asking for help, especially if you are facing financial challenges or struggling with mental or physical health issues, is the last thing you should do.


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'Don't suffer in silence' - farmer battling mental health urges others to seek help'Don't suffer in silence' - farmer battling mental health urges others to seek help
From the editor: Ignoring mental health needs is the worst course of a actionFrom the editor: Ignoring mental health needs is the worst course of a action

Take mental health; you can be the most physically able and active person in the industry, but events can conspire against you and whittle you down through no fault of your own.

 

Whatever your age, if you have a run of bad luck with, say, relationship breakdowns, ill health in the family, and looming business problems, ‘manning up’ could merely make the matter worse.

 

It might not chime with the industry’s own self-image to say it, but with so much noise and conjecture enshrouding agriculture, asking for help might be more crucial than ever before and could prove to be the first step towards resolution.

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