How YANA offers a helping hand for rural living

Adding to the YANA Army of Mental Health First Aiders in the rural sector. Contact details for those

Adding to the YANA Army of Mental Health First Aiders in the rural sector. Contact details for those who would like to participate in the next MHFA course in Norfolk or Suffolk do email: - Credit: Archant

For better rural mental health – YANA help is at hand, here Gina Long MBE talks to Henry Kilvert, YANA’s chair of trustees

Farmers are being typically stoic and getting on with providing food for the nation in this pandemic crisis. Stoicism, like will-power, is an exhaustible resource and cannot be sustained for the long term. All the studies are showing that we may need to prepare for wide-ranging, substantial, and long-term negative psychological impact from the current challenging situation.

YANA (You Are Not Alone) is facing up to this challenge by using their wonderful volunteers, as soon as they are allowed out, to distribute leaflets to every GP surgery, Citizen Advice Bureau, and agricultural businesses across Norfolk and Suffolk. YANA is increasing the number of listeners who man their Helpline so they can cope with the anticipated avalanche in demand. They are focusing on those groups, which their research tells them who are most at risk from taking their own lives, notably agricultural workers and forest workers.

Henry Kilvert, chair of YANA trustees said, “We’ve all come a long way. Now - as we see and hear in broadcast media, online and in conversation – there is a lot more being said about mental health issues. However, it is what we do to help people struggling with depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts that matters so much.

“This is where YANA comes in. Our mission is simple: rural mental health support. We started in Norfolk, spread to Suffolk and Worcestershire, and have grown to become a major influence in providing exactly the mental health support needed by rural communities.

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“We want to spread awareness of our resources. We want the YANA story to permeate the countryside, whether that is our farm-scape, your office space, or the cab doors and tailgates of the farm-related vehicles that ply our rural roads.”

YANA provides confidential support and counselling for people. A call to their helpline on 0300 323 0400 can result in fast track access to free counselling sessions. These are provided by their trained counsellors who understand rural life and the pressures of working in farming and countryside businesses.

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YANA builds an understanding of mental health. They provide support and confidence to start the conversations so that sufferers can find the help they need. They have collaborated on a Suicide Prevention campaign, producing a handy reference guide - the YANA “Seven Tractor Facts to Save a Life”. It punches above its weight with clear guidance on how to help in a mental health crisis.

YANA invests in Mental Health First Aid training. To date, they have trained more than 80 people. The groups have included farmers and farm staff, grain merchants and land agents, representatives from YFC, NFU, CLA, RABI, Norfolk and Suffolk Police, IAgSA, and rural churches. During two days of tuition, every participant learns the skills to use in the workplace, in families and with friends when signs show mental health problems.

Henry adds, “We need crucial help spreading the word. All of YANA’s work is funded by generous donations. We have had fundraisers run, cycle, swim, walk, drive, play cricket, raffle, bake and simply give a shake a bucket. All this effort ensures that YANA is here for you - whether you need help yourself or want to help a colleague, friend, or family member you are concerned about.

“Helping with mental wellness is straightforward. We invite you to: Know the signs of depression and mental crisis Spread the word of what YANA is, and provides Ask us if you want copies of our leaflets, suicide prevention cards, or the directory we publish of rural support groups nationwide. Consider getting Mental Health First Aid training

None of us need fear starting conversations about mental health. Everyone should have access to the help needed. We all need to be part of providing support and signposting appropriate help to those in need.”

You Are Not Alone with YANA by your side. For more information, please visit the YANA website or call their helpline on 0300 323 0400

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