Today, mental health charity Samaritans launches their new campaign ‘Real People, Real Stories’ to reach out to men in rural communities who are struggling to cope. The campaign will run for six weeks, ending on September 27.
The NFU Mutual Charitable Trust is supporting Samaritans’ response to COVID-19 as part of their commitment to aid farming communities affected by the pandemic. Other farming organisations, including R.A.B.I, are coming together to back the initiative and encourage men in farming to seek support.
During the campaign, Samaritans will share real stories of men affected by mental health issues to tackle the stigma and encourage others to seek support.
Paul McDonald, Samaritans Executive Director of External Affairs, said: “This pandemic has brought unexpected change and uncertainty, which will have a lasting impact on everyone’s mental health and wellbeing. At Samaritans we know that less well off, middle-aged men have remained the highest risk group for suicide in the UK for decades and that the restrictions put in place during lockdown such as isolation and disconnection will have exacerbated problems for these men.”
According to research by Samaritans, nearly half (45%) of men aged 20-59 in rural communities in Great Britain agree that they have experienced feelings of anxiety during lockdown. Over half (59%) say they feel worried about the future.
Lindsay Sinclair, Group Chief Executive of NFU Mutual, added: “We understand how isolation is affecting people and families, and that these services are needed now more than ever. The emotional and practical support offered by Samaritans is vital at this challenging time.
“Our members have told us that loneliness, the strain of juggling home and work and financial pressures are impacting every inch of their lives and leading to feelings of anxiety and fear.”
Find out more about the campaign on the Samaritans website.
Pictured above is Morgan, a Chartered Surveyor and Agricultural Valuer who has shared his story as part of the campaign. Read his story.