WITH THE farming industry working flat out with calving and lambing across the country, increasing pressures can be placed on farming’s mental health.

The Scottish Farmer has teamed up with farming charity RSABI to share stories of those who have sought support in their services in difficult times and to urge them to reach out to the charity if they or someone they know might be struggling.

Speaking up and seeking out support is the first step towards getting back on track and we urge our readers not to shy away or avoid reaching out during this busy period and to know that many others across the country will be facing similar challenges.

Scottish farmers and crofters are encouraged to seek RSABIs services if they or someone they know is struggling (Rob Haining / The Scottish Farmer)

Scottish farmers and crofters are encouraged to seek RSABI's services if they or someone they know is struggling (Rob Haining / The Scottish Farmer)

The following story is representative of a typical RSABI case and the support on offer by the charity. All names and some of the particulars have been changed to maintain confidentiality.

Ann's story

Ann had lived with her husband and two children on the family farm. Over the years her husband struggled with alcohol which affected his mood and motivation. She tried everything she could to help him but her life was becoming unbearable, not only for her but for her children too. She managed to rent a house near to the farm and was ready to make a new life for her family.

Ann then discovered that she had breast cancer. She had surgery and chemotherapy. She was running out of money fast and this was adding to her stress and was worrying her children. A good friend told her about RSABI and the work we do in the agricultural community and she phoned the helpline.

We put her in touch with a local cancer charity, and she is now in receipt of Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment has been applied for too. RSABI supported her and her children with a prepaid debit card that allowed her to heat her house and feed her family until benefits were paid.

Ann felt guilty about leaving her husband, was not sleeping particularly well and her self-esteem was at rock bottom. We gave her a list of counsellors who specialise in addiction and relationships and gave her a grant to pay for ten counselling sessions.

Already Ann is feeling stronger, her cancer has all been removed and requires no further treatment but she will still have regular checkups. She has spoken to a solicitor with a view to setting up meetings with her husband to discuss her and their children's futures.

RSABI call her regularly and she appreciates having someone to talk about her situation.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling please call the RSABI helpline on 0300 111 4166. The helpline is open every day of the year from 7am to 11pm.