Coronavirus: Yellow Wellies issues mental health support for farmers

New guidance is available for farmers and agricultural workers on coping with increased stress caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The effect of the virus is causing uncertainty and anxiety for many farmers, but help is available for those who need it.

The Farm Safety Foundation, also known as Yellow Wellies, has put together the guide, which outlines what mental health means, offers help on building resilience and identifying the signs of mental ill health, and list where farmers can get support.

See also: Coronavirus: Walkers cause ‘untold anxiety’ to farmers

It includes techniques to help people identify the issues that are causing stress or worry and then steps on how to try and solve them.

Farmers are often working long hours and on their own, so the guidance puts emphasis on staying connected with others, giving yourself a break and taking time to switch off.

NFU Mutual, which founded the charity, said now, more than ever, people needed to recognise the signs of failing mental health among family, friends and themselves.

The Farming Community Network is another source of support for anyone in the farming industry, and northern regional director Richard Betton urged anyone struggling to get in touch.

He said: “The impacts of the coronavirus outbreak are being felt by farmers and growers right across the UK.

“Remember, you are not alone; it’s alright not to cope; and there is no shame in asking for help.”

NFU deputy president Stuart Roberts said help is also available through the NFU network.

“Help doesn’t need to be practical or financial – help can be a conversation – and in this new world of social distancing, maintaining contact with each other is even more important. We can’t physically pop over to see our neighbour, but we can still pick up the phone and check in.”

Where to go for support

  • Yellow Wellies has published an online guide to coping with stress caused by the coronavirus.
  • The Farming Community Network (FCN) helpline is available every day of the year, 7am to 11pm. Call 03000 111 999 or visit the FCN website
  • You Are Not Alone (Yana) project provides confidential support and funding for counselling for farmers and people in rural trades in Norfolk, Suffolk and Worcestershire. Call 0300 323 0400 or visit the Yana website
  • The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (Rabi) offers financial support, practical care and guidance to farmers and agricultural workers. Call 0808 281 9490 or visit the Rabi website.
  • Rsabi is Rabi’s sister charity in Scotland. Call 0300 111 4166 or visit the Rsabi website.