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2017 Archive


Ref - 27/17

Regional Board Members of National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) urge Farmers To 'Know Who To Turn To' as part of NHS Grampian's Mental Health Campaign

Almost half of all local farmers want more information or support with stress, anxiety or depression according to the findings of a local health survey of 250 farmers at the Turriff Show 2016.

The survey was carried out by NHS Grampian Healthy Working Lives Team with support from the NFUS.

In response, NFUS are urging farmers who would like help with their mental health to 'Know Who To Turn To'.

NHS Grampian's 'Know Who To Turn To' Campaign aims to give people advice on how best to access local health services across the north east.

Chris Littlejohn, Interim Deputy Director of Public Health from NHS Grampian said:
"Stress is an important factor in the development of mental health problems such as depression.

"Stress can come from many sources and, given how often the farming community face financial pressures, long hours working in isolation and changes in regulations; it shouldn't really be a surprise that many farmers are becoming increasingly concerned about their mental health.

"Unfortunately, all too often, people don't seek out the help and support they need because of a reluctance to discuss it. Not seeking support when stress first emerges can lead to the situation becoming far more serious.

"We are also hoping that the campaign will help to reduce the stigma which can still surround mental health in the farming community.

"We are also grateful to Aberdeen Northern Marts (ANM) who have been really supportive of our campaign by offering free advertising at the Thainstone Centre on their digital screens over the next 12 months."

Regional Manager, Lorna Paterson, said: "NFUS are delighted to support this important initiative. Our members often face challenging financial pressures, as well as spending long hours - often entire days - working alone.

"That can be a tough combination to handle and it's only natural for it to sometimes have a negative effect on a person's mental wellbeing.

"If people ignore the early signs of stress, depression or anxiety it can have really serious repercussions. Unfortunately, suicide rates among farmers are some of the highest in any occupational group in the country, this is a huge concern and an issue we are determined to help address through a campaign like this.

"The harsh reality is that access to highly lethal means, such as firearms, poisonous chemicals and heavy machinery, results in a large proportion of suicide attempts by farmers being fatal. We'd strongly encourage any farmer who is feeling stressed or finding difficulty in coping, to get the support they need. Please do speak to your local Group secretary or Regional Manager, and they will be able to suggest best options to seek support."

Grant Rogerson, Chief Executive of ANM Group, said: "ANM has more than 5,000 members in the north and north east of Scotland and we are happy to support this vital campaign by utilising our facilities to raise awareness of the free and confidential support that is available to the local farming community."

To kick off the campaign, NHS Grampian Healthy Working Lives staff will be on hand to offer information and support at The Royal Northern Spring Show, which will be followed by a yearlong advertising campaign at the Thainstone Centre, Inverurie

If you or anyone you know has any concerns about your mental health please visit http://www.know-who-to-turn-to.com/