28 May 1999

Staffs stress launch soon

THE Staffordshire Rural Stress Support Network will be launched by the Bishop of Lichfield at the county show on Wed (June 2).

Funded entirely by donations from Staffs NFU members, the initiative follows in the footsteps of a similar venture operating in Shropshire.

Staffs beef farmer and NFU regional advisory board chairman Bill Boulton said: "With over half of the Staffordshire population living in rural areas, and the current downturn in farming and general depression in the countryside, the network is essential.

Positive force

"Stress has been with us since the beginning of time proving a positive force in our continued survival. However, today we are subjected to a greater and inescapable pressure to adapt, keep up and compete – a different form of survival. These modern pressures can overload the system."

The isolation felt by many living and working in the countryside added to the problem, he said.

"The network has been established to provide help to those people in rural areas who feel under stress. We seek to identify those support agencies and people who can offer help and support at times of need.

"Staffordshire volunteers can put people in the right direction in terms of further help or advice available, or simply offer a listening ear," said Mr Boulton.