Today we celebrate local heroes, those rural support groups, organisations and individuals who are going the extra mile to help those in their communities. First up, the wonderful YANA based in Norfolk, Suffolk and Worcestershire.

Melinda Raker, Patron of YANA explains why she firmly believes that YOU ARE NOT ALONE – we are in this together and why real and honest collaboration is key

“We’ve all come a long way. Now – as we see and hear in broadcast media, online and in conversation – there’s a lot more being said about mental health issues. However, it’s what we do to help people struggling with depression or anxiety or suicidal thoughts that matters so much and with those in farming being high risk of depression and tragically, suicide, with one person in the industry in the UK taking their life every week, it is incumbent upon us all to support our industry’s mental health. You don’t have to be a medical professional to help someone, asking ‘are you ok’ and meaning it, costs nothing.

Launched in 2008 the YANA mission is simple: rural mental health support. We started in Norfolk, spread to Suffolk and Worcestershire and have grown to become a major influence in demonstrating, and providing, exactly the mental health support needed by rural communities.

YANA provides confidential support and counselling. A call to our helpline manned by Samaritans trained volunteers on 0300 323 0400 can result in fast track access to fully funded counselling sessions from professional BACP registered counsellors who understand rural life. Last year we funded 100 hours of counselling: in the last 8 months over 250 hours. The need is growing.

YANA builds understanding of mental health. We provide the support, confidence and information to start the conversations so that sufferers can find the help they need.

YANA invests in Mental Health First Aid training. In just 15 months we have funded 6 two-day MHFA courses and trained 100 people in the skills to support their families, friends or colleagues when signs show of poor mental health. This is our ‘YANA Army’ of MH First Aiders spreading across our industry – land agents, Young Farmers, grain merchants, vets, police, those from agricultural colleges and shows, rural businesses, churches and allied charities.

YANA runs a compelling Suicide Prevention Campaign ‘Seven Tractor Facts to Save a Life’. We want to share this acclaimed resource with every rural support group to make it a national campaign. Together we could save lives and reduce that worrying statistic.

YANA is strongly committed to collaboration between charities – this is not a competition; we all have the same aim of supporting our industry. Let’s do it together. YANA compiled, funded and distributed The National Directory of Rural Support Groups – another valuable resource which has been widely distributed across the UK to colleges, police forces, allied industries and trades who might need to signpost contacts, students, and clients to relevant support in their area. We work with the Farm Safety Foundation, The Prince’s Countryside Fund, The Worshipful Company of Farmers, and with FCN and RABI at grassroots level working with them to provide a breadth of support to those who need help.

With our finger on the pulse of our local farming and rural communities, we provide them with our support and in return YANA has their backing, together with bountiful donations and innovative fundraising. This is a prime example of an industry looking after its own. I am so proud to be part of it.”

For those in Norfolk, Suffolk and Worcestershire, YANA can be reached on 0300 323 0400 or by following @yanafarming on Twitter.

Download a copy of the YANA Rural Support Directory

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