OPINION: Farming mental health charity is busier than ever as pressures grow

Emma Haley, manager of the YANA mental health charity

Calls to rural mental health charity YANA (You Are Not Alone) have risen by 50pc this year, says its manager Emma Haley - Credit: Archant / Emma Haley

Uncertain times and financial pressures have sparked a 50pc rise in calls to rural mental health charity YANA (You Are Not Alone), says its manager Emma Haley.

In my relatively short time with YANA I have seen our services more than double the amount of support being provided.

So far this year, our helpline has already received almost 50pc more calls than last year. This follows an 88pc increase in 2021. 

Changing times lead to increasing pressures and poor mental health. Farmers are facing rising costs, succession issues, the impact of war and world issues on supply chains, plus everything they always deal with, from the weather to rural isolation.

With so many uncertainties and stressors, the pressures often feel relentless and overwhelming. For many the future seems hopeless.

But for those who make that all-important call to our helpline, hope is often restored.  

No magic wands make the problems disappear but having the chance to talk can bring a huge sense of relief - creating space in the mind to think a little clearer, refocus, and look at things from a different perspective.

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For others, counselling offers a lifeline, with 96pc feeling better able to manage their problems after receiving counselling. 

This means people in agricultural and rural businesses are likely to be better able to go about their day-to-day life, think more clearly, make decisions and increase concentration levels, therefore being less likely to have accidents.

A call to our helpline can give you fast-track access to our fully-funded counselling.

Family and friends are also a key support for many. Having my own experience of living with someone who experiences anxiety and depression, I know first-hand the importance of supporting not just the one who is struggling, but the wider family and support network too.  

Support from family and friends helped 80pc of people alongside counselling. But we know not everyone has family and friends and our helpline can be that all important listening ear. 

Many people are playing a small role in sowing the seeds to improve mental health by supporting YANA to make a positive difference.

Whether its attending our Mental Health First Aid training, volunteering, fundraising, sharing literature or putting up stickers, it’s all helping to make a difference.

Throughout this time of agricultural transition and beyond, YANA’s constant voice of support is here to stay.  

Contact YANA's confidential helpline on 0300 323 0400 or helpline@yanahelp.org.