Despite improvements in mental health awareness, two thirds of farmers still say they would not seek professional help if they were concerned about their own mental health.
The video launches this week as part of Farming Help Awareness Week (22 – 26 February 22 – 26) to promote the work of the Farming Help charities which are available to farmers across the UK.
The charities comprise of The Farming Community Network, RABI, RSABI, Addington Fund and Forage Aid, all supported by The Prince’s Countryside Fund. They work together to secure the best possible outcomes and support to farmers and the rural community.
In the short film - called ‘Farming and Better Mental Health’ and directed by Berno Vierbergen - former dairy and sheep farmer and FCN volunteer Nick Viney talks candidly to farmer Trevor Cligg from Pipplepen Farm in Dorset about their experiences of mental ill-health and the support they received.
Trevor said: “After years of pressure on the farm, I found my mental health was not in a good place. I struggled with motivation and kept to myself a lot of the time. My family insisted I see a doctor and seek support.
“Mental ill-health can affect all of us – you have to accept you have a problem; only then can you get help to deal with it.
“I wish more people would talk about how they’re feeling – a lot of people are struggling and stay out of sight or withdraw, and some hide in plain sight.
“Talking about what we’re going through with the people around us and available to listen is one of the most important things we can do.”
Nick said: “We hope the short film encourages anyone in the farming community experiencing mental ill-health or dealing with other pressures on the farm to seek help early, talk about it and not be ashamed of how they’re feeling.
“We hope those who watch the film will be encouraged to share it to let people know that there are support networks available, such as FCN and the other Farming Help charities. It can make a real difference and can help you get through difficult times.”
Help and support
The Week encourages the charities to highlight the unique ways that they provide support to the farming community and lets people know that help is available to those in need.
Farming Help Awareness Week follows Mind Your Head, a campaign organised by Yellow Wellies to raise awareness of mental health in the industry and support farmers’ health and wellbeing.
If you or a family member is struggling with any of the above worries then call Farming Community Network on 03000 111 999. You will be able to talk to a sympathetic person who understands farmers and rural life and can help support you through tough times.
For more information about the Farming Help charities visit www.farminghelp.co.uk/
Farming Community Network
Directory of National Rural Support Groups
British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy