The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution is developing new services to support farming people. Since the start of March around 30 per cent of those contacting RABI for assistance mentioned coronavirus as a factor in their worries. Around nine in 10 of these requests came from working people, with varied and complex needs.
In some cases the financial loss was caused by dairy companies not paying for milk, as catering and coffee shops closed. The loss of income from diversification, such as B&Bs and visitor attractions, along with housing issues with inability to pay rent.
Farming people have higher than average levels of stress, anxiety, depression and suicide. Managing mental wellbeing and maintaining good health are most important. No one should suffer on their own.
Throughout this time RABI has been operating its Freephone Helpline 0808 281 9490 with someone there to listen and offer confidential advice. An online wellbeing community and counselling service has been launched, Qwell.io/rabi for adults while Kooth.com/rabi is tailored to those aged 11-17.
Christine Downes, county committee member of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution