Campaign urges farmers to #KeepTalking

Jim smith keeptalking 20 may 2020

Jim Smith: Perthshire farmer and comedian is fronting the campaign. 

RSABI has warned that the lockdown could increase anxiety and loneliness. 

20th May 2020 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Agriculture charity RSABI has launched a new campaign encouraging farmers to take care of their mental health.

Auctioneers around the country have been recruited as ambassadors for the #KeepTalking campaign which kicks off on Saturday 23 May, the date when the Fife Show was due to take place.

The campaign is also timed to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week and comes at the end of the main period of calving, lambing and other spring work.

RSABI said this is traditionally a quieter period, with associated risks of increased loneliness or anxiety, particularly in light of restrictions imposed by the coronavirus lockdown.

The campaign will actively encourage farmers, crofters and others involved in agriculture to make the time to pick up the phone, or chat online, to connect with other people. It will run until 22 June, the final day of what would have been the week of the Royal Highland Show.

A National #KeepTalking Day is also being held on 18 June, when RSABI and the campaign’s partners, ambassadors and supporters will be encouraging everyone to make a call to someone they haven’t spoken with in the past six months.

RSABI chief executive Nina Clancy said: “When the adrenalin rush of spring work is past we are concerned that people working in agriculture may find themselves feeling more isolated and exposed.

“In some respects, many farmers and crofters will have been shielded to a degree from the lifestyle changes due to Covid-19 which others have felt, as they have been so engrossed in spring work. However, it is now when they would usually be getting out to auction markets and agricultural shows around the country, and are this year not able to, that they may really feel the impact.”

RSABI encouraged everyone working in Scotland’s agriculture sector to engage with the campaign, and also offered a reminder that their helpline service is available every day on 0300 111 4166 to offer support and advice.

Perthshire farmer and comedian Jim Smith is fronting the campaign. He said: “Agricultural shows and auction markets play a very important role in the social side of farming life and so the timing of this campaign is ideal. As farmers, we’re not the best at expressing how we feel, so it is more important than ever this year that everyone in the agricultural community supports each other and gets behind RSABI’s campaign.”