stressed farmer

Stressed farmers will soon have access to 24-hour free telephone support after RABI announced it is extending its service.

The agricultural charity is extending its freephone helpline from the autumn to provide a round-the-clock service, explaining that it will better meet the needs of a sector renowned for working long and often unpredictable hours.

It comes as mental health in farming is high up the agenda. The industry has a disproportionately high rate of suicide as farmers deal with the many stresses of the business.

“Improving accessibility and ensuring farming people know there is someone to talk to who will understand them, no matter what time it is, is a priority for RABI,” said Alicia Chivers, chief executive of RABI.

“For generations, RABI has provided guidance and support to the farming community. With the challenges facing farming people becoming increasingly diverse and complex it is crucial that we remove as many barriers to accessing vital help as possible.

“Talking to someone and proactively seeking support is such a positive step and now there will be someone available at any time of the night or day. The 24/7 helpline will remain free for all to access and is an important addition to RABI’s services.'

RABI said it is employing a 'progressive strategy of evolution to ensure there is a toolkit of holistic support available for people to access as they need it'. Working with partners to strengthen and broaden the charity’s reach, RABI recently introduced the online wellbeing, and launched the sector-wide research project The Big Farming Survey.

The rollout of RABI’s Community Pillars Scheme pilots, bringing together small forums of local farming people within safe, informal but supported environments, will also continue throughout 2021.