During the past year, Scottish rural charity RSABI has trebled its counselling provision in response to increased demand from farmers, crofters and others working in agriculture.
The charity is encouraging those in the industry to stay connected and check in on anyone who might be feeling overwhelmed, isolated or lonely, particularly during the busy spring period.
Those who work for RSABI say the charity is experiencing a high number of people seeking emotional support, with 88% of the welfare teams’ time dedicated to providing emotional and practical support.
February was the busiest month of 2022-2023 in terms of people reaching out to the charity and during the first two months of the year, RSABI made 312 outbound emotional support calls.
Since April 2022, it has funded 170 counselling sessions.
The organisation has also noted a trend of working-age people seeking emotional support due to stress, anxiety and isolation, with a noticeable increase in those concerned about their financial situation, compared with the final two months of 2022.
Chris McVey, welfare manager with RSABI, said although spring may seem like a season of bustling activity, it can be a very tough time of year for farmers and crofters.
He welcomed the fact that more people are contacting the charity via its helpline and urged others who may feel they are not coping to not hesitate to seek support.
RSABI offers free counselling services
“Coming into spring, farmers’ and crofters’ mental health can come under strain as spring work, including lambing, calving and sowing gets under way,” said Mr McVey.
“Lack of sleep, coupled with tiredness from the increased workload, can result in farmers and crofters failing to take care of themselves and their own mental wellbeing so we want to remind everyone of the range of support services we have available.
“If farmers or crofters find themselves struggling with their mental health, RSABI is here to offer free counselling services, delivered quickly after receiving the initial enquiry.
“Our free confidential support service is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, by calling 0808 1234 555 and calls won’t show up on phone bills or through a confidential webchat service available on our website.”
The recent cold snap has also contributed to a further surge in demand for RSABI’s Help for Heating grants, to help people struggling to keep their homes warm.
If you or someone you know could benefit from this support, please contact RSABI or ask someone else to do so on your behalf and help take the pressure off.
For more information or to sign up to RSABI’s supporters’ scheme, please visit the RSABI website at www.rsabi.org.uk where you can also find a 24-hour confidential webchat service.