Let’s talk about it…

Logo: LRSN

By Sarah Poucher, Fundraising and Communications Manager

When did you last have a frank and honest conversation about how you are feeling, what your worries are or what anxieties you might be experiencing? Talking to someone can help to reduce the anxieties that build up, and let’s be honest, it really doesn’t matter who you talk to, it could be a family member, a friend, a colleague, or a professional, the important thing is that you talk to someone.

Man standing alone looking out over a field

It's a lonely job…

Working in agriculture or within the countryside in general can be isolating, working long and anti-social hours can lead to poor mental health. Working alone can often mean that you have to find the solution to problems that you face by yourself, there might be no one to share the immediate stresses and worries with, no one that you can talk things through with. All these factors can influence mental health. A recent survey carried out by the Farm Safety Foundation showed that 92% of UK farmers under the age 40 rank poor mental health as the biggest hidden problem facing farmers today [Farm Safety Foundation, 2021] Why, if this amount of people acknowledges the problem, did 44 people working in the agricultural field die from suicide in 2020 according the Office for National Statistics.

It’s time to talk…

Poor mental health is not the same thing as having a mental health condition, sometimes the two can get confused. There have been several different campaigns in recent years to highlight awareness of mental health struggles, these have helped to lift the stigma that once surrounded the subject. However, we know that this isn’t the case for everyone, some people still believe that struggling with their mental heath is something to be embarrassed about, a taboo subject, never to be mentioned. This is where campaigns like Time to Talk Day are vital for highlighting these issues, putting the conversation quite firmly on the table. National charities such as FCN, RABI and more localised charities like LRSN, YANA and Farm Cornwall to name a few, have specialised helplines that people working in the rural and agricultural industries can contact if in need of help or advice.

Time to Talk Day is a national event aimed at raising awareness of mental health and encouraging people to start a conversation. The more conversations we have, the better. Discussing mental health can be difficult, it’s hard to admit your real feelings but talking about it can change your life.

Seek support…

We find mental health support is often concentrated in built up, more populated areas, meaning those living and working in rural communities can potentially suffer from lack of professional support. People seeking help can come up against a metaphorical brick wall, self-reliance when facing issues becomes the norm. It’s time to break that cycle, we need to make sure everyone knows how important it is to talk about our mental health, show them that it is ok not to be ok. Give people permission to open up and start a conversation. Use Time to Talk Day as a stepping stone for the future, make it a habit to ask, how are you, are you ok, is there something on your mind? Make yourself open for conversation, think about your location when you are talking to people, is it conducive to a safe space and atmosphere to have a conversation in. visit the Time To Talk website to see what else you can do to help get people talking.

Help is on hand…

There are many organisations you can seek help from, either for yourself or if you are worried about someone else:

Two people walking side by side through a field

Helpline 03000 111 999

Helpline 0800 188 4444

Helpline 0808 1234 555

Farm Safety Foundation

The Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust


You can find a list of most UK Farm Support Charites and groups on The Royal Countryside Fund website:
Farm Support Groups - The Royal Countryside Fund

It might not be you that needs to talk, if you have concerns about someone, there are several things you can do:

  • Talk to them, try, and get them to open up to you.
  • Let them know that they can trust you and that they are in a safe space.
  • Reassure them it is ok to not feel ok and that there are places they can get help.
  • Keep an open mind and listen, don’t be judgemental about what they are telling you.

The most important thing to remember is that talking about suicide will not make the person suicidal. However if you know or believe someone is thinking of ending their life call 999, or the Samaritans on 116 123 or take them to the nearest A&E department to seek help from the crisis team.

Find out more about LRSN at

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Posted On: 26/01/2024

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