Factsheet: Mental health and Wellbeing within Rural and Farming Communities

This factsheet is available in a downloadable PDF here.

Table of Contents

Introduction
What can Help?
Related Services

Introduction

There is evidence of relatively high levels of stress and isolation in some rural and farming communities.

Specific factors affecting such communities include:

  • Low income and lack of job opportunities, factors that have been influenced by the economic downturn
  • Geographic isolation and spread out populations, with lack of local support and social networks
  • People leaving communities
  • Stigma associated with mental health issues

There are additional stresses for those involved in farming occupations. These relate to the nature of the farming industry itself where people may often have to contend with the following type of pressures: business and financial worries; livestock diseases; long hours; unpredictable weather; increased mechanisation which often results in greater isolation.

What can Help?

There are many things you can do which will help you to feel better.

Talk to someone

Speak to a friend or someone you trust and try to tell them how you are feeling. Talking does help. It is especially important to tell someone if you are feeling so low you are having thoughts of suicide.

Asking for help is not always easy, but talking to someone who is outside your situation can be a real support during a difficult time.

Please refer to the Need Help Now section that lists a number of agencies that you can contact for immediate help.

Midlothian and East Lothian Choose Life partners have produced a leaflet: Time to Talk, Time to Listen – Help and support for farmers, farm workers and their families.

This lists a number of specialist rural and farming support agencies. As well as providing someone to talk to in confidence, some of these agencies can offer practical support to help you in your situation.

Related Services

Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution
RSABI – Scotland’s charity helping people who have depended on the land.
Tel: 0131 472 4166
RSABI can provide financial and practical support to people in Scotland who work (or have worked) in land-based occupations and who are facing hardship in some way. This can range from farmers, farm workers and rural estate workers to fish farmers, forestry workers and horticulturalists. RSABI also supports the dependants of such people.

Rural Stress Helpline
National Helpline 0845 094 8286
(9am – 5pm, Mon-Fri)
Rural Stress Helpline offers a confidential, non judgemental listening service to anyone in a rural area feeling troubled, anxious, worried, stressed or needing information.

Farm Crisis Network
Tel: 0845 367 9990 (7am – 11pm)
Based on local groups, volunteer members are able to respond quickly and confidentially to requests for help from families in farming who are experiencing problems.

National Farmers Union Scotland
Tel: 0131 472 4000 (9am – 5pm Mon-Fri)
NFU Scotland represents farmers, crofters and growers throughout Scotland.

Within Midlothian, there are two new Choose life funded projects, both of which seek to provide either awareness raising information or outreach support into rural areas:

External websites related to Mental health and Wellbeing within Rural and Farming Communities

These web sites may be useful. Please note that we are not responsible for external sites; if you find any broken links or inappropriate content please report it to the site administrators using the feedback page.

  • Rural Stress Helpline
    9am - 5pm Mon - Fri
    Advice and information for people living in rural areas who feel distressed.
  • Farm Crisis Network
    7am - 11pm
    Based on local groups, volunteer members are able to respond quickly and confidentially to requests for help from families in farming who are experiencing problems.
  • National Farmers Union Scotland
    9am - 5pm Mon - Fri NFU Scotland represents farmers, crofters and growers throughout Scotland.

Phonelines Related to Mental health and Wellbeing within Rural and Farming Communities

  • Breathing Space

    0800 83 85 87

    A free, confidential phone line you can call when you're feeling down. They also have an excellent website which has loads of information and a self-help toolkit.

  • The Samaritans

    08457 90 90 90

    The Samaritans will not try to give you advice, judge you or tell you what to do, they will just listen and support you. They are there for anyone, especially those who are suicidal or in crisis.

  • Rural Stress Helpline

    0845 094 8286

    9am - 5pm Mon - Fri
    Advice and information for people living in rural areas who feel distressed.

  • Farm Crisis Network

    0845 367 9990

    7am - 11pm
    Based on local groups, volunteer members are able to respond quickly and confidentially to requests for help from families in farming who are experiencing problems.

  • Midlothian Early Intervention Crisis Response Service

    0131 663 5533

    Mon-Fri 4pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-4pm

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