We’ve talked this week about the steps to wellness… Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and, on our final day it’s all about Giving.
As we have seen, there are many people raising money and awareness but one of the most important things you can give is your time. One couple who have spent the past year giving just that are Andy and Lynda Eadon of Warwickshire.
At 22 years old, Leonard (Len) Eadon was a popular young farmer, completing his studies at Harper Adams University with his whole life ahead of him however, in January of 2022, Len took his own life. One year on from these tragic events, his parents Andy and Lynda have been working with us and campaigning to make, what is essentially a very difficult subject, more open to discussion and one that young farmers, in particular, recognise and are prepared to talk about.
The couple have been working with us to raise awareness among young farmers in Warwickshire of how important it is to recognise the subtle signs and symptoms of someone who may be struggling with their mental health. They are giving their time to organise fundraising family days, work with the Student Support Services at Len’s former university, travel with Stephanie to meet the Minister of State for Food, Farming and Fisheries, Mark Spencer and create a Five-a-Day Challenge in Len’s memory.
Lynda says: “When Leonard died, it became a very strong feeling that we had to do something to bring people in the farming community together to talk. This is why Andy devised the Five-a-Day Challenge – five very simple things you can do every day to look after your mental health. The Farm Safety Foundation has printed this Five-a-Day Challenge on bright red plastic cards and we have distributed them to markets, local young farmers clubs and in the most recent issue of the NFU Student Farmer magazine.
In fact, over 18,000 of these wallet sized cards have been printed, with orders arriving daily for more. We also commissioned 2,000 copies of the Foundation’s Little Book of Minding Your Head to be printed and distributed to YFCs to support the new mental health curve module that they have developed.”
But what is the Five-a-Day Challenge?Understandably these efforts have not gone un-noticed and, in November, Andy and Lynda travelled to London to receive the prestigious NFU Community Farming Hero Award (West Midlands) for their campaigning and fundraising work.
Lynda adds: “Our hope is that, because Leonard was so well known and it shocked so many people, we want people to keep talking about it and keep remembering him and realise that they need to be aware of what they’re feeling and reach out if they need it.
There is no shame. There is no stigma. But there is support.”
If you or someone you know needs help, please CLICK HERE to access the Little Book of Minding Your Head – The book contains the contact details and hours of opening of many of the UK’s farming charities and rural support groups.
If you, or someone you are with feels overwhelmed by thoughts of not wanting to live or having urges to attempt suicide, get help NOW. Call a suicide hotline.
Samaritans 116 123
NHS Emergency 999
Papyrus HOPELINEUK 0800 068 4141