At the Oxford Real Farming Conference, Caron Whaley, RABI’s director of services has taken part in a panel discussion ‘Can farming and food traders weather the economic storm’ at 2pm on 5 January.
She spoke about the professional mental health support options available to farming people during these tough times, and RABI’s farming focused, accredited mental health training.
The charity will also be premiering a short film at the Oxford Farming Conference featuring Exmoor farmer Oliver Edwards, whose poor mental health impacted not just him, but his family and farm business. Mr Edwards encourages others in a similar situation to reach out for professional support.
“The ripple effect of keeping problems to yourself can be huge,” says Ms Whaley.
“Our Big Farming Survey results also showed a strong association between the health of a farm business and good mental health.
“Added stressors caused by exceptional cost rises are putting increasing financial pressure on farming people. To help prevent mental health and wellbeing within the sector getting worse, we need to break down the barriers stopping individuals asking for support,” she says.
“No organisation can do this alone – we need our wider community to help us. We can’t be on every farm, so if you’re visiting a farm, you can help normalise the conversation around mental health and wellbeing.”
RABI regional manager for North Wales, Dewi Parry, will also be representing the award-winning charity at the Oxford Farming Conference, after being awarded a bursary by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society to attend.
When asked what he is most looking forward to experiencing during the conference, he says; “I’m hoping to learn about what farming in the future looks like, and whether this alternative way forwards that the conference will try to illustrate, leaves a place for the smaller family farms, which I believe need protecting.”