A number of Aberdeenshire farmers feature in a new film exploring mental health in the farming community.
The film – Unearthing Farming Lives – has been produced by Pink Sphynx Media and is due to be released towards the end of May. It is the brainchild of several organisations in the north-east including NFU Scotland (NFUS), Robert Gordon’s University, Samaritans and Aberdeenshire Council.
It aims to highlight hidden mental health issues in the sector to farmers and those working in the agricultural supply chain.
“Many of us are well aware of fellow farmers who are silently suffering from mental health challenges,” said NFUS regional chairman for the north-east, Alan Simpson.
“We need to help the farming community by more outwardly promoting the message that it is brave to speak out and ask for support.”
He added: “There are many organisations and experts who are available to help, but the sufferer needs to find a way to summon up courage to ask for their aid. This film will help shine a light upon the mental health status of our farming community.”
NFUS regional manager for the north-east Lorna Paterson, who features in the film, said she hoped it would help people recognise and better understand common mental health issues.
She said: “The film will draw upon the participants’ experiences, and most importantly, help guide viewers on where and how to access help if they are aware of colleagues who are suffering, or indeed if they themselves require support.
“And by ensuring this film reaches schools, we hope to help inform young people and so destigmatise the negativity associated with admitting to depressive thoughts and emotions.”
Samaritans‘ Aberdeen director, Elaine Mottram, said the charity was available to help anyone feeling distressed on freephone 116123.
She said: “We urge those who might need us not to wait until they are in a crisis but to call so that we can support them and hopefully help prevent a crisis.”