Mental health charity has 'touched lives, changed lives and saved lives'

Philippa Dannatt, the Lord Lieutenant for Norfolk, who is backing the Here to Help campaign. Picture

Philippa Dannatt, the Lord Lieutenant for Norfolk, who is backing the Here to Help campaign. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

The "phenomenal" achievements and continued importance of a Norfolk-based farming mental health charity were highlighted at a celebration of its new-found independence.

The YANA (You Are Not Alone) Project was launched in 2008 by the Clan Trust, and has since expanded into Suffolk and Worcestershire before becoming an independent charity earlier this year.

At an online meeting, trustees and supporters were told that the standalone organisation now has a platform to continue its growth.

They heard that more than 100 people had received confidential counselling in the last two years, while more than 60 volunteers had attended 150 events, 96 people had been trained as mental health first aiders, and 115,000 leaflets had been distributed across three counties. 

The charity has also engaged with media, politicians and industry bodies to widen its reach to rural communities.

Charity patron The Lady Dannatt, the Lord-Lieutenant for Norfolk, thanked founding patron Melinda Raker for her efforts to drive the organisation forward.

"What you have achieved since 2008 has been quite, quite phenomenal," she said. "YANA has touched lives, YANA has changed lives, YANA has saved lives.

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"Organisations like YANA have never been needed more than today. Lockdown has brought a huge number of tragedies and led to isolation, loss of hope, anxiety, and depression.

"The stories we are hearing are very disturbing and the rate of suicide and attempted suicide has increased across the board.

"And for farmers there are all the additional pressures that we know about so well - the loneliness, the isolation, not having someone to talk to or not wanting to unburden themselves to their families.

"Nowadays they also have the uncertainty around the future of farming as an industry as we prepare to leave the EU. For a lot of farmers that is giving rise to a tremendous amount of anxiety."

  • YANA offers confidential mental health support and counselling for those in farming and rural industries in Norfolk and Suffolk. Contact the helpline on 0300 323 0400 or visit the YANA website.