More UK farmers seeking mental health support with FCN

The Farming Community Network's (FCN) helpline reports that mental health queries now make up the majority of calls.
calendar icon 9 October 2020
clock icon 4 minute read

Nearly half of all calls made to The Farming Community Network’s (FCN) support helpline (03000 111 999) over the past four months have related to mental health.

Mental health is now frequently the most common factor in calls presenting to the helpline from members of the farming community.

Concerns around mental health and well-being were a factor in:

  • 52 percent of calls in June
  • 53 percent of calls in July
  • 47 percent of calls in August
  • 45 percent of calls in September

This includes stress and anxiety caused by issues such as financial concerns, family relationship problems, Brexit uncertainty and COVID-19.

In April 2020, 56 percent of all calls presented to FCN were related to COVID-19, and the pandemic has remained a source of concern for the farming community in the following months.

This data is revealed in advance of World Mental Health Day (10 October) and Ag Mental Health Week (10-16 October). The hope is to help raise awareness around poor mental health in the farming industry in order to encourage change by promoting openness and reducing stigma.

Jude McCann, FCN CEO, said: “This data presents an important insight into the lived experiences of farmers throughout England and Wales this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many farmers and their businesses and 2020 has also brought a range of other challenges – such as flooding and drought in different parts of the UK, poor crop yields and concerns about the short and long term effects post-Brexit rural policy may have on the industry. All of these heighten feelings of stress and anxiety.

“FCN encourages those living in rural communities to get in touch with us. Whether the issues you’re experiencing are big or small, no one should have to suffer in silence. FCN’s Helpline (03000 111 999) is open every day of the year, 7am-11pm. Every year we help hundreds of farming families through difficult times. Our volunteers throughout England and Wales, many of whom are from farming backgrounds, are here to help.”

FCN is helping to support farming resilience in a number of key ways. FCN’s FarmWell platform is a one-stop resource for guidance and information around personal and business resilience.

The FarmWell Wales platform – launched earlier this year by the Wales Farm Support Group and part funded by the Welsh Government – tailors content for Welsh farmers is available in English and Welsh.

This month FCN has launched its "Time to Plan" project. Working with a range of industry partners, FCN is providing helpful resources and insights about planning ahead and responding to changes affecting the industry.

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