Rural Support launch new publication at Balmoral Show

Those who attended the launch & (L-R) Finola Colgan (Mental Health Ireland), Jude McCann (Chief Executive of Rural Support), Bryan Monson (Deputy Chief Executive of HSENI), John Thompson (Chair of Rural Support) & Dr Denis McMahon (DAERA Permanent Secretary)

This year’s Balmoral Show saw the launch by Rural Support of a resource entitled, ‘Coping with the Pressures of Farming’, a booklet aimed at farmers and their families providing useful information on a wide range of issues linked to farming life which can be experienced by any farming family at any time.

The resource which has been developed by Rural Support with the support of the Health and Safety Executive NI, is based on an original publication issued in the Republic of Ireland by Teagasc and Mental Health Ireland. The information has been edited and reworked for the Northern Ireland context.

The booklet brings together practical information on a broad range of farming matters and presents them in a direct and accessible manner. It provides information and sources of support on a comprehensive range of issues related to both the farm business and family which contribute to stress and low levels of mental wellbeing. Through its distribution Rural Support aim to reduce stigma about problems encountered by farmers and their families and encourage help seeking and resilience building by informing anyone who may need support about the services available and how to access them. The booklet is split into two sections; one addressing issues relating to the farm business and the second addressing issues relating to the well-being of the reader.

Deputy Chief Executive of HSENI Bryan Monson commented, “It is important for farmers to realise that how they deal with pressures and stress can affect their ability to farm safely and remain healthy, yet because farming is such a busy occupation it’s often the last thing on their mind. Knowing how to access support is key to addressing problems before they begin to impact on your mental and physical health.”

A key theme throughout the resource is how and where you can access further information either through direct contact with organisations, useful websites, helpline numbers, and other publications. A pdf version of the booklet is available to download from the Rural Support website.

Jude Mc Cann, Chief Executive of Rural Support said, “Our farming sector is going through a period of great change and transformation and this can bring uncertainty and additional stress for farming families. Isolation and loneliness can exacerbate mental health concerns and make some problems seem insurmountable. By reaching out for support we can reduce that sense of isolation and share the burden. Having access to good quality and trustworthy information can make all the difference when making decisions and considering options. I would like to sincerely thank HSENI for their support in getting this resource developed and printed. We are delighted to be working together once again this year at Balmoral to help protect the farm’s greatest asset- the farmer.”

Rural Support is asking that any individual who lives or works in the countryside, who is in contact with farmers or even if you have an interest in farming to please save its freephone helpline number 0800 138 1678 to your mobile phone.

The helpline is available from 9am-9pm, Monday to Friday (voicemail and support options available at all other times. Freephone from all UK landlines and mobiles).