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Helpline number 0845 606 7 607

Rural Support was initially established in autumn 2001 to help farmers and rural dwellers in Northern Ireland who were affected by the severe foot and mouth crisis. The organisation is a charitable company limited by guarantee and is registered as a charity.   Rural Support provides a telephone helpline for farming and rural families across all of Northern Ireland.  It offers a listening ear and signposting service for issues such as farming information and technical queries, financial matters, physical and emotional health, suicide risk and family /relationship issues.  

Rural Support's vision is: to contribute to a healthy, sustainable rural community by providing individual support and promoting positive mental health and well-being.

We provide confidential non-judgemental support to farmers and rural dwellers.

At present 33 volunteers give their time, knowledge, expertise and experience to those who require it.  They undertake helpline cover, finance mentoring, work/life balance guidance, counselling, promotion and outreach.

Rural Support recently completed a comprehensive issues paper entitled: 'Rural Stress: Emerging Issues and Drivers of Change'.  In summary the key drivers of rural stress were identified as; 1) Shifting Policies and Financial Pressures, 2) Instability, Risk and Uncertainty, 3) Increasing Isolation and Service Provision and 4)Family Pressures.

In addition, a review of helpline calls revealed that almost 40% of callers highlighted Farm Finance and Debt issues as the main reason for calling. Other reasons included relationship problems, mental health issues, paperwork, government schemes, inheritance and succession, health and isolation.  As a result, Rural Support has decided to initiate a pilot project across Northern Ireland entitled- 'Tackling Rural Stress: Promoting Positive Mental Health'.  The aim of this project is to Promote Positive Mental Health, through developing self-help behaviour and assisting those most vulnerable who are experiencing financial distress and associated mental ill health.

Helpline number 0845 606 7 607  Email info@ruralsupport.org.uk Office Number 028 867 600 40