WITH LAMBING on the horizon, RSABI are urging farmers to be vigilant for signs of stress.

With spring comes the hope of brighter weather, lighter days and fields full of new-born lambs, but it can also mean long, tiresome, emotional days for farmers working around the clock to lamb their flocks.

Charity RSABI is encouraging farmers to be mindful during this time and Welfare Manager, Mags Granger explains that there are a number of signs to look out for in ourselves and others which could indicate that all is not right.

“It is important that we are vigilant all year round for any indications that something may be wrong – with ourselves or with a friend, relative or neighbour,” said Mrs Granger.

“However, it is more important than ever to look out for signs that people may be feeling pressure at this time of year when farmers, and others involved in agriculture, are at particular risk of stress due to long hours and tiredness.”

She explained some of the things to look out for include someone looking unusually dishevelled or perhaps drinking more alcohol than they would usually. People who are affected may be grumpier than usual and reluctant to go out and about or answer the phone, as well as failing to prioritise important tasks.

An important point to look for is any changes in behaviour which may strike you as unusual for a particular individual and to make sure not to ignore any concerns you may have.

“Ask them if everything is ok,” MS Granger continued. “If there is something wrong, the sooner that help is sought the better.

“The stark reality is that every week one farmer in the UK commits suicide so it is much better to ask and see if you can help than to wish you had asked after it is too late.”

Mrs Granger also emphasised the need to talk as openly as possible about mental wellbeing. “One in four of us will experience mental health problems at some point in our lives and the ability to discuss mental health openly is key to tackling the issues which lie behind it.”

The main thing, she said, is to be able to listen in the case of someone who may have mental health problems. “Don’t expect to be able to suggest answers for all the problems another person is going through. You are not expected to fix everything but you can listen and encourage them to seek help,” she concluded.

RSABI provides emotional, practical and financial support to people involved in Scottish agriculture and is currently helping 25-30 new clients a month.

If you or someone you know might benefit with from the support of RSABI, please don’t hesitate to call their confidential helpline on 0300 1114166, which operates from 7 am to 11 pm 365 days a year.