Charity calls on farmers to seek help in Difficult Times

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With several weeks of winter still remaining, Rural Support is advising the agri-community on the importance of looking after their health and well-being.

Working and living in the countryside can be challenging and for some ‘everyday life’ can bring unprecedented difficulties.

With less daylight hours, cold weather and the arrival of unexpected bills, Rural Support is concerned about the effect this can have on farmers’ health.

Rural Support Director, Jude McCann commented: “Farming can be challenging all year round, especially in winter. With many farmers working long hours in harsh weather conditions and facing increasing bills, there can be a great deal of stress. Furthermore, the last year has been a particularly challenging year for farmers with incomes decreasing by 17%. All sectors have been affected by the recent falling prices particularly in the dairy sector. However, assistance is available, if needed, from our helpline - 0845 6067 607.”

Rural Support provides support for farmers and rural families through the helpline offering a listening and signposting service. It deals with a range of issues including emotional distress, physical and mental health, farming paperwork and bureaucracy.

The charity has also recently launched a pilot project focusing on Financial Stress aimed at those experiencing debt or financial issues relating to the farm business. The free and confidential one-to-one financial mentoring service can help analyse farm businesses’ current situations. The team at Rural Support will take action to address these problems and ease the burden of dealing with this financial stress alone. To avail of this service, please call the helpline number above.

Rural Support is working with its CSR partner, wind energy company, Simple Power, on campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of health and wellbeing in rural communities and farm families. Simple Power works in partnership with farmers across Northern Ireland and is committed to an on-going partnership with the local charity, providing financial support alongside awareness-raising and fundraising activities.