Online counselling service for farmers sees 90% return rate

Farmers can access one-to-one counselling support from qualified professionals through a chat function
Farmers can access one-to-one counselling support from qualified professionals through a chat function

A farming charity's new online wellbeing and counselling platform for farmers has seen a 90 percent return rate since launching in October.

The statistic highlights the demand for easily accessible online support for the farming sector, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) said.

Normalising seeking early preventative support to maintain better mental wellbeing continues to be a fundamental challenge for the charity.

Establishing the online wellbeing platform has been the first step in the development of flexible, accessible programmes of support that reach a wider audience, it said.

“Knowing there are repeat users accessing this service, even after only two months, is a really positive result," said Alicia Chivers, RABI’s chief executive.

"RABI has been encouraged by the initial use of the two websites and I would like to thank the many stakeholders, who have played a role in raising awareness of the new wellbeing websites."

The online service offers free, anonymous resources to adults and young people from the farming community throughout England and Wales.

Users can also access one-to-one counselling with British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy accredited counsellors, who have received training in the challenges facing farmers.

“There is often an unrealistic perception that farming people are ‘invincible’, the truth is, we all have the capacity to be affected by difficulties and challenges," Ms Chivers added.

"It’s vital there are these easily accessible tools help overcome some of these invisible barriers that can stop farming people gaining greater resilience from professional support.

“It’s an ongoing conversation that we collectively need to continue to amplify."

Users of the service are able to anonymously access farmer specific and more generic content, as well as discussion boards, case studies and messaging functions.

There are also tools such as a journal to record and track progress against personal goals, as well as tips and articles.