Demand for Emotional Support Sees Trebling of Counselling Provision

During the past year RSABI has trebled its counselling provision in response to increased demand from farmers, crofters, and others working in Scottish agriculture.

Industry news
Published: 15/03/2023

During the past year RSABI has trebled its counselling provision in response to increased demand from farmers, crofters, and others working in Scottish agriculture.

Last month (February) was the busiest month in 2022/23 in terms of people reaching out to the charity, which provides emotional, financial, and practical support. During January and February the charity also made 312 outbound emotional support calls and since April 2022, it has funded 170 counselling sessions.

During the past year the charity has also noted a trend of working age people seeking emotional support due to stress, anxiety and isolation, with a noticeable increase in those concerned about their financial situation, compared with the final two months of 2022.

The charity is currently expanding its team of staff to ensure it is well resourced to respond to a further increase in demand for its services, as pressure on the industry continues with high input prices and general anxiety about cost of living and the future of agricultural support.

RSABI, which offers emotional, financial, and practical support to the agriculture industry, is experiencing a high number of people seeking emotional support with 88% of the welfare teams’ time dedicated to providing emotional and practical support.

According to Chris McVey, Welfare Manager with RSABI, while spring might seem like a season of bustling activity, it can be a very tough time of year for farmers and crofters who, emerging from winter, can sometimes feel the scale of the workload is overwhelming.

He welcomed the fact that more people are contacting the charity via its Helpline and urged others who may feel they are not coping, not to hesitate to seek support.

“Coming into spring, farmers’ and crofters’ mental health can come under strain as spring work, including lambing, calving and sowing, gets underway,” said Mr McVey.

“Lack of sleep, coupled with tiredness from the increased workload, can result in farmers and crofters failing to take care of themselves and their own mental wellbeing so we want to remind everyone of the range of support services we have available.

“If farmers or crofters find themselves struggling with their mental health, RSABI is here to offer free counselling services, delivered quickly after receiving the initial enquiry. Our free confidential support service is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, by calling 0808 1234 555 and calls won’t show up on phone bills, or through a confidential webchat service, available on our website.”

RSABI is also reminding everyone involved in the Scottish agricultural community about the importance to staying connected and checking in on anyone who might be feeling overwhelmed, isolated, or lonely, particularly at this time of year.

The recent cold snap has also contributed to a further surge in demand for RSABI’s Help for Heating grants, to help people struggling to keep their homes warm. If you, or someone you know, could benefit from this support, please contact RSABI or ask someone else to do so on your behalf and help take the pressure off.

For more information or to sign up to RSABI’s supporters’ scheme, please visit the RSABI website, where you can also find a 24-hour confidential webchat service.

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