The Farming Community Network (FCN) is a voluntary organisation and charity that supports farmers and families within the farming community through difficult times. They have a network of over 400 volunteers across England and Wales, many of whom are involved in farming, or have close links with agriculture, and therefore have a great understanding of the issues farm workers and farming families regularly face.
Since 1995, the FCN has helped thousands of people deal with a variety of issues, including financial difficulties, animal disease, mental health and family disputes. Their volunteers provide free, confidential, pastoral and practical support to anyone who seeks help, regardless of whether the issue is personal or business-related, and travel approximately 130,000 miles every year in support of the farming community. In addition to local groups of volunteers, FCN runs a confidential national helpline and e-helpline which is open every day of the year from 7am-11pm.
Farming is not just a job – it’s a way of life. But it is also an inherently risky and volatile industry to work in. Farmers are regularly forced to deal with issues on the farm that are beyond their control, such as animal disease, fluctuating market prices and the weather. Farming can also be a very isolating and lonely occupation, with farmers often spending long hours out in the field with little or no form of social interaction.
On top of their responsibilities on the farm, farm workers also deal with issues in their personal life, such as relationship breakdowns, physical health problems and bereavement. Furthermore, as Britain prepares to leave the European Union, many farmers face great uncertainty about the future of their farm business.
All of this means that farmers and farming families across the UK are highly susceptible to poor mental wellbeing, including stress, anxiety and depression – and sadly, approximately one farmer a week dies by suicide in the UK.
Simply talking about your problems is often the first step towards improved mental wellbeing. But because of the stigma surrounding mental health, many within the farming community have difficulty coming forward and admitting that they need help and more often than not, they prefer to discuss their issues in confidence with someone who they have no emotional attachment to and who will treat their situation without judgment. This is where FCN can help.
To talk to a sympathetic person who understands farmers and rural life, call 03000 111 999.
(Calls will be answered in person from 7am to 11pm every day of the year)
For information and general enquiries, FCN’s national office can be contacted either by phone on 01788 510866 between 9am to 5pm on week days or by email at [email protected].