During Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) is asking the farming community to try and find time to take five minutes and reach out to five friends and check how they are getting on.
“With the continued lack of opportunity to meet face-to-face, we are increasingly seeing the impacts of isolation on the mental wellbeing of farming people. Loneliness can be a significant issue for the farming community, and as a result of multiple lockdowns, we know many farmers across the country are under increasing pressure,” says Alicia Chivers, chief executive of RABI.
“We can all make a real difference by simply sending a message or picking up the phone for a quick chat. Our friendships are among the most valuable relationships we have and are a crucial tool to help protect our mental health. This is why we are encouraging everyone working in agriculture to reach out to five members of the farming community this week by sending a message or giving them a call.”
Ms Chivers went on to explain that farming people have been raised to be robust, leading to self-imposed expectations of needing to be seen as virtually invincible. This can become an invisible barrier that makes reaching out for support feel like a weakness, rather than the strength it is.
The RABI online wellbeing platform was launched in part to try and alleviate this concern. Access is completely anonymous and everyone is able to access farmer-specific content and a range of advice and articles, as well as discussion boards, case studies and messaging functions.
As well as this, users can access one-to-one anonymous counselling support from BACP accredited professionals through a chat function. English and Welsh-speaking counsellors are available, trained in many different forms of counselling.
The latest #5for5 drive to support farmer wellbeing comes with the full support of RABI whose vision is that ‘no farmer should ever face adversity alone’.
“Mental Health Awareness Week serves as a timely reminder to all to consider how important mental wellbeing is. So we really hope you’ll be able to join us in spending five minutes to reach out to five loved ones,” Ms Chivers concluded.
More information is available at www.rabi.org.uk