Call for farmers to take part in wellbeing study
NFU SCOTLAND and rural charity RSABI have joined forces to encourage farmers, crofters and those working in the agricultural industry to take part in a pilot study by University of Glasgow.
The study is aimed at those working within the agricultural industry in Scotland who suffer from low mood and/or anxiety, and would involve taking part in a short online course. If the pilot study is successful it could be made readily available to assist those in need of support.
Previous research has indicated that farmers and crofters may be particularly vulnerable to these difficulties and that they may not want to, or be able to, access formal health care services for support. Once individuals agree to take part in the study, they will be asked to complete an initial questionnaire to assess their current wellbeing. Participation will be fully confidential.
As a need to support those working in the agricultural industry has been identified, this study is being organised and funded by the Institute of Mental Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow.
Allan Bowie, president of NFU Scotland, commented: ‘We know farmers and crofters can work in isolated areas, and often can go days without speaking to someone. This can impact on health and wellbeing, particularly at this time of year, and it’s fantastic that tools are being researched to help improve accessibility to help for those within our industry, in an unobtrusive, confidential way.
‘One in four people in Scotland will suffer from poor mental health at some point in their life. And we know with the pressures that are currently facing our industry, and every sector, it can have a significant impact on how we feel and how we cope in the running of our businesses.
‘I would encourage as many people as possible to take part in this study if they fit the criteria, as it can only bode well for helping our industry to be the best it can be going forward, with suitable resources available, no matter where you are in Scotland.’
Mags Granger, RSABI’s welfare manager, commented: ‘We are pleased to support this research which will assist in identifying suitable support for those working within the agricultural industry here in Scotland.
‘We know that people in rural communities can sometimes experience difficult and stressful times, and, as a charity, RSABI has been working to improve the resources available for those people.
‘This research by the University of Glasgow is very welcome and it is hoped that we will get enough farmers and crofters, and people working with the industry, who have suffered low mood and/or anxiety at some point in their lives to come forward to take part. This survey could result in practical help for farmers and crofters for the future.’
Harriet Bowyer, of the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at University of Glasgow, said: ‘The current study is investigating the usefulness of providing farmers and crofters with an online course that teaches key life skills based on cognitive behavioural therapy.
‘Research suggests that online life skills training can help with low mood and anxiety, and that it works best if it is relevant to the people who are using it. That’s why this project has been designed specifically for farmers and crofters.’