Royal marines help farmers with mental health

FORMER royal marines and the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI) are launching a mental health initiative this month to help farmers.

The programme involves mental health first aid training for those who regularly interact professionally with farmers or crofters, such as assessors, inspectors, and consultants.

Topics included in the course – which is being delivered by IED Training Solutions, a consultancy founded by former royal marine Ian Clark – will provide knowledge about mental health conditions and how to recognise needs, as well as direct the farmers to appropriate professional help.

“During recent times some great work has been done in the Royal Marines to encourage a really positive approach to achieving good mental health and we are very much looking forward to sharing that experience with the farming community,” Clark said.

“I think this training, and the cascade effect of the benefit, could be a major step forward for the industry.”

Seven pilot training courses have been delivered, participants including staff from Food Integrity Assurance.

Carol McLaren, chief executive of RSABI, said: “This initiative comes at a time when there are some really encouraging green shoots of change as farmers and others working in agriculture become more open about talking about mental health and the steps needed to maintain and improve it.”

RSABI has already launched its #keeptalking campaign and is also currently working on a mental health app.

Its “Thrive” app is being piloted with young farmers’ clubs.

The charity also provide a free round-the-clock counselling service by phone or web chat, as well as offer support in practical and financial matters.

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