Back by Popular Demand – Coping with the Pressures of Farming Workshops

A focus on mental wellbeing is an essential element of running a successful farm business and developing a healthy and happy farm family. When mental and emotional wellbeing is strong, there is a clear sense of direction and purpose and life’s challenges are more easily handled.

In the farming community, a focus on mental health is often a secondary one, yet it is one of the biggest threats the industry faces, having a significant impact on the farmer, farm family and farm business and its ability to farm both successfully and safely.  The coronavirus pandemic and the unknowns around the impact of Brexit has also certainly tested everyone across the sector and provided more challenges than ever before.

Last year, to help addresses these issues, Rural Support delivered nineteen ‘Coping with the Pressures of Farming’ workshops across Northern Ireland to three hundred farmers, farm family members and farm workers. The workshops were delivered as part of CAFRE’s Farm Family Key Skills programme and were the first of their kind to be delivered on a widespread basis to farm families across Northern Ireland. This free programme is now returning for its 2nd year and workshops will be delivered online from February 2021.

Veronica Morris, Chief Executive of Rural Support said, “Farmers face various challenges in running their farm business whilst balancing life and family commitments. This, along with the continuing uncertainty in the sector can have an impact on emotional and psychological well-being throughout the farming family.”

“The Coping with the Pressures of Farming workshops encourage participants to think practically about the changes they could make to their lifestyle and business practices to improve their wellbeing as well as developing a better work/life balance through focused self-care activities. Participants will also learn how to support friends and neighbours who may also be experiencing challenges.”

Gillian Reid, Farm Business Support Service Coordinator commented, “Within the farming community there has traditionally been a stigma surrounding mental health, however progress is being made and the popularity of these workshops are a key sign of that. There is no doubt that Covid 19 will have a lasting impact on farmers and farm families, both in terms of business and mental wellbeing. However, Rural Support remains committed to building upon these areas to best support our farmers and farming families now and in the future.”

These free workshops will provide practical support and guidance with the specific aim of helping participants identify stress points, both in themselves and others, and learn how to deal with them. The training focuses on how to recognise the symptoms of excessive stress, exploring ways to build resilience and develop strong mental wellbeing. It will also focus on how to access specialist support when it is needed. Participants also learn how to support family, friends and neighbours who may also be struggling with certain issues.

The February workshops will take place on the following dates:

  • Wednesday 3rd February
  • Thursday 18th February

To register your place please visit https://www.cafre.ac.uk/business-courses/coping-with-the-pressures-of-farming/ Workshops are limited to 10 farm families and will start at 7.30pm and last for around 1hr 30mins. Further dates will be arranged. Alternatively, if your group would like this workshop delivered exclusively to them please contact Rural Support by calling 028 8676 0040 or email farmsupport@ruralsupport.org.uk

College of Agriculture Food & Rural enterprise (CAFRE) is responsible for the delivery of the Farm Family Key Skills (FFKS) programme. Farm Family Key Skills courses are an important element of the Rural Development Programme.  The FFKS programme is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

If you or someone you know would benefit from speaking to Rural Support, please ring our helpline on 0800 138 1678.  All calls are confidential, the helpline is available 9am-9pm, Monday to Friday (alternative support options available at all times).