Nigel Owens calls on YFCs to take up mental health training

Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) in England and Wales have been urged to add wellbeing training to their club programmes in response to concerns about poor mental health among young people working in agriculture.

During Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May), Nigel Owens, president of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC), is leading the call for the 580 YFCs to take advantage of the training which launched last year.

See also: Mental Health Awareness Week tackles loneliness in farming

NFYFC has developed the course, known as Rural+, with the Farming Community Network and the DPJ Foundation, with input from young people in agriculture to ensure the support is relevant.

Sessions focus on understanding stress and anxiety; managing personal mental wellbeing; how to talk about mental health; seeking support; and supporting others.

Urgent action

Mr Owens said: “I want YFCs to take urgent action. Many of us know that members of our community are struggling with their mental health and sadly, some have felt there was no way out of the problems they faced.

“We have to do more to ensure everyone seeks the help they need. And YFCs can help make this happen.”

Any club wishing to organise a training session should speak to their county office, or make a booking online.

The Warwickshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs has committed to deliver Rural+ sessions to all YFCs in the county, following the death of one of its members, Len Eadon, who took his own life on 1 January.

Megan Bailey, Warwickshire’s county training officer, is delivering the sessions throughout the county.

“We have received positive feedback from all of the clubs who have taken part so far, and it has prompted really good conversations about our mental health,” Ms Bailey said.

“We recommend all other county federations make a similar pledge and ensure their clubs take part in these sessions to help the YFC community be more open about problems we may be facing.”