#KeepTalking to tackle farmer loneliness and mental ill-health

By EatFarmNow
18th June 2020
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Without normal farming events taking place this summer, charities are worried farmers could suffer from loneliness and mental ill-health.

To tackle this, the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI) is running a campaign to encourage those in farming to #KeepTalking.

The national #KeepTalking Day on June 18th, which was due to be the first day of the Royal Highland Show, is encouraging everyone to make a call to someone they haven’t spoken with in the past six months.

“With the adrenalin rush of spring work past we are concerned that people working in agriculture may find themselves feeling more isolated in the coming weeks when they would usually be getting out to auction markets and agricultural shows around the country,” says Nina Clancy, chief executive of RSABI.

Auctioneers – who are key figures in farming communities and known for their ability to talk – have been recruited from around Scotland as ambassadors for the campaign, and are hitting the phones o June 18th. 

“As auctioneers, we spend a lot of time talking to farmers and often act as a confidant, sound board, business eye and friend,” said Scott Donaldson, president of the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS). 

“It’s something we take extremely seriously because know that for farmers that chat in the yard or kitchen could be the only one they have that day, week, or even month,” said Mr Donaldson.

“Marts themselves also play a critical role in enabling farmers to connect, share successes and disasters, or simply unwind with a bacon butty and chat about the rugby.

“Right now however, the pandemic has halted those face-to-face interactions, so we encourage everyone to pick up the phone to a neighbour, friend, or acquaintance – for your own health and there’s too,” said Mr Donaldson.

Where to go for help

RSABI has a helpline supported by RHASS – 0300 111 4166 – which is available seven days a week, 365 days a year.  The charity’s staff are ready and waiting to help people and to signpost other sources of support.

Farming Help, also provides support to those in Scotland, but also across the UK. It’s helpline, managed by the Farming Community Network is 03000 111 999

More about the campaign

During the four-week campaign, RSABI is focusing on four priority areas, spelling TALK: Talk to people; Act now (don’t wait); Listen – people may seem ok but they may not be; and KeepTalking even if things are difficult.

The campaign is being supported by organisations including the Royal Highland Agricultural Society Scotland (RHASS), Scottish Government, Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers Scotland (IAAS), National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS), Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC), Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), Scottish SPCA, Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership, Scottish Agriculture Organisation Society (SAOS) Women in Agriculture Scotland, National Sheep Association (Scotland), Scottish Land & Estates, AHDB Scotland, Scottish Association of Mental Health, Scottish Tenant Farmers Association, Scottish Crofting Federation, Scotland Food & Drink, Lantra, SRUC, Scottish Beef Association;  and Scottish Pig Producers.