R.A.B.I does not provide counselling services, but we can offer other support for farming people to ease stress or anxiety. Take a look below to find out more.
The short answer is yes, and they’re not! Anyone, from any walk of life, can experience mental health problems at any time, through no fault of their own.
However, people working in agriculture do face some unique and complex emotional and practical challenges. For a start, farming is often a 24/7 business where it’s hard to switch off and impossible to get away from the workplace. Many in farming work long hours in isolation in remote, rural areas. Strong support networks are therefore important and R.A.B.I can play a vital part in helping people put them in place.
One of the key things we can do is provide financial assistance. Money problems and worrying about debts can trigger illness. But it can also be the other way around and the illness can lead to financial difficulties.
For many people, tackling money problems can immediately ease some of their stress and anxiety.
We can contribute towards domestic bills, pay for relief staff to work on the farm if the farmer is unable to work and organise free business appraisals and debt advice.
At time of crisis we can also arrange to pay an emergency grant and help with claims for state benefits.
We do not offer our own counselling service but we do put people in touch with other key organisations so they can benefit from a wider network of help. For example, when people need ongoing emotional support, we work closely with FCN and other local organisations that specialise in mental health.
Our own team members are NOT specifically qualified in mental health support. However, they are trained in suicide awareness and mental health first aid which means they can recognise signs that someone needs specialist help.
We can help initiate access to wider support and the first step is to encourage people to seek treatment from their GP if they haven’t already done so.
Whether it is practical or financial, our support is tailored to suit you and your needs.
R.A.B.I doesn’t have a ‘call centre’. What we do have is an experienced team of welfare officers and one of them will answer the phone. Everything discussed is confidential.
Every day, we talk to people dealing with the pressures of farming and our welfare team provide a caring, human link to tailored support. Having a conversation can be the first small step towards better mental health.
We know that some people prefer to communicate via the internet these days and we are working to pilot easy access to online counselling services for the farming community. This will be with approved, qualified counsellors. The service is likely to include one-to-one consultations that are free for farming people to use, 365 days a year.
We always liaise with other farming organisations and charities (under the Farming Help umbrella, for example). Right now we are working with the NFU and other organisations to better understand, through research, the issues farmers face.
Going forward, we want to use that research to develop fresh solutions to address the needs of today’s farming community, including sustainable support for better mental wellbeing.