With the increasingly topical issue of mental health circulating in the run up to Christmas, the Norfolk-based YANA project hopes to encourage farmers to open up and talk about depression.
The You Are Not Alone (YANA) project offers help to those in farming who struggle with stress and depression in a bid to remove the stigma of mental health within the industry.
The organisation, set up in 2008, offers a lifeline to farmers in their ‘demanding’ and ‘stressful’ occupation who can often feel ‘isolated, depressed, or unable to cope as well as normal’.
It comes following news the NHS has become increasingly stretched with reports of many young people with mental health issues having to wait more than six months for a first appointment.
YANA project co-ordinator Jo Hoey said: “Depression is an illness, not a weakness.
“Like any other illness, seeking help promptly is a major step forward.”
Research showed those who develop mental illnesses in rural areas were less likely to seek help than those living in urban areas, with one in five people in the UK likely to suffer a mental health problem at some point throughout their life.
YANA acts as a signposting agency to encourage farmers to check their symptoms and arrange an appointment with their GP, offering funding for up to six counselling sessions either with a professional counsellor arranged by a GP or through the charity.
Mr Hoey added: “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.”
To contact the YANA project in complete confidence, call 0300 323 0400 or visit www.yanahelp.org