WITH worryingly low levels of mental wellbeing identified by its Big Farming Survey, RABI has launched two new support services. The charity’s proactive response focuses on providing early, preventative wellbeing support for farming people.

RABI’s head of partnerships, Suzy Deeley, says the new in-person mental health counselling and farming-focused mental health training initiatives will complement existing schemes. Both services can be easily and consistently accessed by the farming community.

“Our recent survey findings confirmed that over a third of farming people are probably or possibly depressed,” said Ms Deeley. “RABI has committed to developing support services that help address these poor experiences. Collaborating with partners, RABI is introducing essential services that we believe will make a difference to our community.”

The free, confidential in-person counselling is delivered by BACP accredited counsellors. Anyone feeling they could benefit from talking to a professional can access via RABI’s 24/7 helpline on 0800 188 4444. Clinical or GP referrals are not necessary, with counsellors responding to initial requests for support within 24 hours.

Ms Deeley said: “All of the counsellors providing support have been selected for a combination of their clinical expertise and their background, engagement or interest in farming and rural communities. It’s vital they have the right specialist experience and are committed to our community with an understanding of the complex challenges farming people face.

"Ongoing counsellor training will ensure farming people are properly supported when they face issues impacting the sector.”

Counselling sessions can take place face-to-face, by telephone or video conferencing and are tailored and led by each individual.

In addition to in-person counselling, RABI is launching the first suite of accredited/certified mental health training tailored for the farming sector. The training provides a valuable tool for the agricultural community to help them feel comfortable talking about how they are feeling.