Farmers and farming families are subject to a number of unique occupational stressors, many of which have been aggravated in recent years by changes in farming practice, policy and economic factors as well as increased levels of isolation and loneliness. With growing evidence that those involved in farming are at a higher risk of developing mental health challenges, Rural Support have launched their Reviving Rural Project.
The Reviving Rural project, which has received funding from the Department of Health, via the Community Fund for Northern Ireland, will support farmers and farming family members to improve their mental well-being and develop new skills and knowledge which is a vital part of running a successful and sustainable farm enterprise.
Over the next two years, the project will do two key things to expand the breadth of support already offered by the organisation through its farm business mentoring programme:
1. It will provide, where needed, one to one professional counselling and trauma therapy support for farmers and farming families who are in crisis situations including those affected by farm accidents, loss, bereavement, and trauma working with all members of the farming family.
2. It will build on its preventative services and programmes by providing digital resources and targeted campaigns to help farmers and farming families to access information, learn new skills and work together to manage risks and plan for healthier mental and physical health. This aspect of the project will include working with women and young people in agriculture to help them develop new habits and emotional toolkits to navigate their mental well-being and learn how to best support other farming family members.
Campaigns were/will promote positive mental health messaging and teach ways to develop a ‘how-to’ emotional well-being toolkit directly targeting women and young members of the farming family aged 12-26 years.