CAREERS SPECIAL: Encouraging farming’s workforce to share the load

21 Oct 2021

21 Oct 2021

Mental well-being of those working within agriculture has come under the spotlight in recent months, as more than one-third (36 per cent) of farmers are probably or possibly depressed, a recent survey by the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) revealed.

With an ethos of prioritising people, Agri-App, an agricultural recruitment service, is aiming to help farm businesses identify the signs of mental health and well-being among their workforce.

It launched its service in March 2020 and, to date, has delivered 50 workshops on mental health for farmers and auxiliary industry workers across the UK.

Florence Tavener, Agri-App business development manager, said: “The workshops, funded by charity We Are Farming Minds, are free for anyone to attend and aim to raise awareness on mental health and the signs and signals to look out for.

“Farming can be isolating, so it is interesting to see different people from different walks of life sharing similar stressors. It just highlights you are never alone and there is always help.”

Emma Pryce, graduate surveyor at the Duchy of Cornwall, attended an Agri-App workshop back in September after realising how important it was to have mental health training in her job role.

She said: “I often have meetings with tenants around the kitchen table to discuss rural matters, so thought having this training would put me in a better position to spot any signs of poor mental health and direct farmers to the right help.

“Mental health can still be a taboo subject and many farmers do not like talking about any issues as they see it as ‘a sign of weakness’, but the high attendance rate highlighted that lots of people are supportive and non-judgemental.

“You do not have to be ashamed if you are struggling.

“I would encourage anyone to attend a workshop or learn more about mental health and well-being and implement something going forward, such as picking up the phone to check in with a loved one or practising grounding techniques.”