The Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) is Scotland’s largest rural youth organisation providing a social network full of opportunities from competitions and events to training and travel. As a network it always strives for its members to feel comfortable in voicing their opinions. However, as Diana McGowan, Senior Communications and Publications Manager at NFU Scotland reported recently in Scottish Farming Leader, when conversation turns to mental health, all too often it strikes individuals as being too personal to discuss…
SAYFC have been running the award-winning ‘Are Ewe Okay’ campaign for seven years now, raising awareness about mental health and wellbeing, and providing a platform of support to help identify where, when and how to seek help.
In the midst of the global COVID19 pandemic, the organisation decided to expand the campaign’s resources and, in May, launched a new ‘rural wellbeing hub’ within its website. The new ‘Are Ewe Aware’ pages collate the latest information and advice from the sector about looking after mental health highlighting the factors contributing to rural isolation, and about general wellbeing and safety.
The hub offers young farmers from across Scotland easy access to services and information so they can have a better understanding of the support and guidance available to them. Organisations and campaigns pinpointed include:
RSABI, SRUC, Farm Safety Foundation, Lantra Scotland, Agrespect, Rural Wellbeing, ‘Living Life To The Full Series, Fife Health & Social Care Partnership, Emma Telfer Fitness, & Mhairi Lake Yoga.
New to the website resources are:
• “I am Not Alone” SAYFC stories. This portal provides Young Farmers with real life stories from fellow members about their experiences of poor mental wellbeing in the past highlighting their diagnosis, their journey of their darkest moments, their progression and relapse phases.
• “I’m Ready… and want to gain help” page. This valuable resource signposts members to those who understand rural life. From gaining that initial support, to the need to speak to someone urgently in a crisis situation – the unique and distinct services within SAYFC’s website provides collated profiles of important contacts; RSABI, SAMH, Gay Farmer, Survivors of Bereavement By Suicide, Breathing Space, Samaritans, SANE, The Farming Community Network, SHOUT, Prevention of Young Suicide [PAPYRUS] and The Gamekeepers Welfare Trust.
• Mental Health First Aid. Information about how members can access a two-day training course run by The Scottish Mental Health First Aid Programme, through LOM Training services. The training is subsidised through the ‘Are Ewe Okay’ campaign within SAYFC and through The Willie Davidson 75th Fund.