NFYFC announces further mental health support for young farmers

The course aims to raise awareness of mental health issues in farming and the wider rural community
The course aims to raise awareness of mental health issues in farming and the wider rural community

Further mental health support for young farmers will be provided via a new course by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) and the Farm Safety Foundation.

The course, which is in addition to NFYFC's other mental health course Rural+ Curve launched in 2013, will focus on mental health in farming and the wider rural community.

It seeks to prepare young people with the confidence to know when to ask others if they are ok, how to talk about mental health and where to refer people for help.

NFYFC recently updated its Rural+ course to focus it more on managing mental wellbeing and re-developed the Farm Safety Curve module.

NFYFC learning manager, Natasha Dennis said: “Following feedback, we have tried to make the Curve modules easier to run during club meetings by reducing the amount of information shared in a single module.

“By adding the Minding Your Head module to our training offer, it meant we could remove this content from the Farm Safety module and dedicate a whole session to the important topic of mental health with more of a focus on farming.

“All of the Curve modules can be delivered by YFC Trainers who know and understand the YFC environment. The sessions are meant to be engaging and interactive – ideal for a club meeting.”

Farm Safety Foundation manager Stephanie Berkeley said the charity was proud to work with NFYFC to improve both farm safety and mental health curve modules.

"We need to improve the attitudes and behaviours around risk-taking and poor mental health in farming and the next generation are the key to driving better behaviours and attitudes.

"Our research shows that young farmers who are struggling with their mental wellbeing tend to exhibit riskier attitudes and behaviours and this is something that we need to address. It’s our industry and it’s our problem so it’s up to us to solve it.”

What is included in the course?

During the sessions, young farmers will learn:

• How to appreciate the importance of looking after your mental health and how it can affect your ability to farm safely

• To know the signs and symptoms of someone struggling with their mental health

• To know ways to start a conversation about mental health and how to refer someone for help

• That educating yourself about mental health can offer support to you and those you come into contact with at work or at home.

• YFC Trainers have received training and materials to enable them to run a Minding Your Head session in their clubs.