6 December 1996

United against stress

FARMERS groups, in conjunction with government and the churches, have joined together to launch the rural stress information network.

The aim of the new organisation is to co-ordinate all the work being done around the country on rural stress and to act as an umbrella organisation for local initiatives which help rural people who feel depressed or suicidal.

Revd Nick Reid, who was senior technical adviser for the NFU central region, has taken a two-year secondment to become the RSINs first director.

The network will not operate directly as a telephone helpline, but will document the extent of the rural stress problem, and identify areas where resources could be channelled. It will also establish a central database of relevant information on rural stress and suicides.

Based at the Arthur Rank Centre at the National Agricultural Centre in Stoneleigh, the RSIN will operate as a registered charity. Funding and help for the first year has been provided by the EU Commission, Royal Agricultural Society of England, the Arthur Rank Centre and the NFU.n