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'Inspirational' mental health charity secures £25,000 grant from Prince Charles' fund

Delegates at the first of the YANA mental health first aid courses funded by The Prince’s Countryside Fund. Picture: Melinda Raker

Delegates at the first of the YANA mental health first aid courses funded by The Prince's Countryside Fund. Picture: Melinda Raker

Melinda Raker

An "inspirational" mental health charity helping East Anglia's farming and rural communities has secured a £25,000 grant from the Prince's Countryside Fund.

The YANA (You Are Not Alone) Project will use the money to pay for a series of six mental health first aid courses in the charity's key operating areas of Norfolk, Suffolk and Worcestershire.

It has already organised and funded three two-day courses for delegates including agricultural colleges, Norfolk and Suffolk police, Young Farmers' Clubs, agricultural secretaries, grain merchants, land agents, rural churches, YANA ambassadors, the National Farmers' Union and the Country Land and Business Association.

YANA patron Melinda Raker said: "Our industry is particularly vulnerable to depression and suicide and we are determined to establish a 'YANA Army' of mental health first aiders who will be able to provide support in all its various sectors.

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"The recognition from The Prince's Countryside Fund is not simply a financial benefit but a real endorsement of the work we are doing. The courses provide the first aiders with the skills and confidence to recognise poor mental health in others, support them and signpost them to appropriate help.

"Within two years we will have trained and funded 100 mental health first aiders."

Downham Market Young Farmers' Club chairman Alice Harness, who attended a course in May, said: "It's great to know how I can support Norfolk Young Farmers but, also, it's hard-hitting to learn just how many people in everyday life experience mental health issues and how important it is to remove the stigma and encourage people to get help."

READ MORE: Norfolk's 'naked farmer' plans cricket day for mental health charity

The Prince's Countryside Fund was established by The Prince of Wales in 2010 to enhance the prospects of family farm businesses and the quality of rural life.

Claire Saunders, director of the fund, said: "The work that YANA has been doing is inspirational and we're delighted that our grant funding can further this important project. Mental health affects everyone and YANA is helping to provide a lifeline to many people."

- For more information on YANA's mental health first aid courses, or for confidential mental health support and counselling see the YANA website, email johoey@yanahelp.org or contact the confidential helpline on 0300 323 0400.

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