North-east researchers and health bosses have joined forces to support the mental health of farmers.
A project by Robert Gordon University (RGU) which looks at the well being of those working in the agricultural sector is moving forward.
A team of researchers from RGU’s School of Health Sciences and NHS Grampian Public Health, NFU Scotland and a local farmer, have been working with the community to explore their experiences of mental wellbeing.
They will also work together to design an intervention aimed at enhancing the mental health of the farming population.
The project is being led by Professor Kay Cooper, clinical professor of allied health professions at both RGU’s school of health sciences and NHS Grampian.
She is working alongside Professor Liz Hancock, RGU’s vice-principal for academic development and student experience, and they have launched a survey to hear the views of farmers for on potential interventions.
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Professor Kay Cooper said they have already been working alongside farmers in the north-east as part of the research scheme and this has already gone well.
He said: “We know that farmers and farming communities are facing significant uncertainty and improving the mental health and wellbeing of farmers and their families is crucial.
“We have been working with the north-east of Scotland farming community over the past two years to explore issues surrounding mental health and wellbeing in the farming community.
“This has resulted in some suggestions for services/interventions to support farmers and the farming community with mental health and wellbeing. Before we develop these further and test them out locally, we are interested in finding out what farmers and the farming community think of them.
“We will use the results of this survey to further develop and then test out a suitable intervention, with input from members of the farming community throughout.”
Lorna Paterson, regional manager at NFU Scotland, is urging farmers to take part in the RGU survey.
She said: “I would urge all farmers to engage and respond to this survey as soon as possible and before harvest work reaches its peak.
“Our farmers mental health generally is under severe pressure, and this has been escalated due to Covid-19.
“Farmers face so many inspection processes from various organisations, and the repercussions for failing to meet requirements, or for making minor errors can be magnanimous. This can cause financial, as well as mental health problems for the farmer.
“We need to find practical and simple avenues to allow our farmers to speak freely and in confidence about their problems, and this survey gives farmers the scope to suggest what their preferred methods would be, in order to achieve this.”
The online version of the survey can be found online at https://bit.ly/3fsLFGX
The survey can also be completed as a print version, please contact email@example.com for more information.