RSABI launches its health hub at Royal Highland Show   

Visitors to this year’s Royal Highland Show are being encouraged to use their time away from the farm to visit RSABI’s health hut.

Visitors to this year’s Royal Highland Show are being encouraged to use their time away from the farm to visit RSABI’s health hut.
Irene Scott, health hut nurse at the RHS 2023 with Jimmy McLean, RSABI’s chair, photos by RSABI and RHS.

The initiative, rolled out by the agricultural charity, aims to encourage farmers, as well as others in Scottish agriculture, to think about their wellbeing and get the benefit of advice and support from the team of medical professionals working with RSABI.  

Given that many farmers work in remote locations with long working hours, the health hut will give them the opportunity to have a general health check and to confidentially discuss any concerns they may have without having to book an appointment.  

The RSABI health hut will be located next to the SAYFC building at the Royal Highland Show, and this year’s activity by the team of nurses, all with farming backgrounds, will include a focus on alcohol and responsible drinking.   

Working with DrinkAware and Alcohol Focus Scotland, one of the highlights will be an interactive display demonstrating how much is in a unit of alcohol.  

READ MORE: Young farmers launch Respect campaign at Royal Highland Show  

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Long working hours, tiredness and isolation  

With the show being one of the key industry touch points for much of the agricultural community, RSABI is encouraging show-goers to take the time to think about their health while they are off-farm.  

Carol McLaren, RSABI chief executive, said: “We’re pleased to bring our health hut, led by practice nurse Irene Scott, to the Royal Highland Show, which we know for many Scottish farmers is the one time of year they manage to take time away from their work.  

“When you factor in long working hours, tiredness and isolation, too often farmers and others working in agriculture put off taking steps when there is a concern, but the earlier they take action, the better the chances are of tackling the problem.   

“By introducing the heath hut at a time and place convenient to them, we are able to reach those who may otherwise ignore symptoms that could be serious if left untreated.”  

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Stress Bucket  

Carol McLaren, RSABI chief executive.

The initiative has grown considerably following a pilot at the Royal Highland Show in 2023, and RSABI now has a team of nurses and GPs, all with a shared passion for health and farming.  

Ms McLaren added: “We have been encouraged by farmers engagement with our health huts at shows and marts to date, many of which have gone on to seek further medical advice or have taken steps to improve their health after consulting with our health hut team.”  

The charity’s innovative ‘Stress Bucket’ will also return to the show as part of a range of initiatives by the charity to encourage good mental health.  

The bucket, made from recycled farm materials and designed to raise awareness around mental health in agriculture, focuses on the common causes of stress build-up experienced in farming.   

It displays in a simple and engaging way how stress can be reduced through steps such as exercise, good sleep, a balanced diet, and talking with a friend or family member.  

RSABI will be located at the main Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) stand, next to the Members Pavilion.    

Visitors to RSABI’s stand will also be encouraged to think about the benefits of taking a break from the farm via a competition to win a four-night stay for up to six people in a luxury family pod, kindly donated by Lothian Glamping.   

RSABI offers free practical, financial and emotional support, including counselling services, delivered quickly after receiving the initial enquiry. 

The charity has a 24-hour freephone helpline, 0808 1234 555, and a confidential webchat service, available on its website.   

The Royal Highland Show is an annual event, showcasing the best of food, farming and rural life at Ingliston in Edinburgh. This year’s edition will take place between Thursday 20th and Sunday 23rd June.

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