The service has been launched by RSABI, the organisation which provides emotional, financial and practical support to people in Scottish agriculture,
The easy-to-remember freephone number – 0808 1234 555 – which is free to call, will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round.
The new number, which will not appear on phone bills, has been launched as part of a move by the charity, which is this year celebrating its 125th anniversary, to ensure it offers the best possible service.
Funding has been provided by the Royal Highland Agricultural Society of Scotland which provided £16,000 and the Scottish Government, which provided £15,000 to assist with the set-up costs.
David Leggat, RSABI chairman, said: “With challenging times expected in the coming months, we are also calling on people throughout the industry to help us to spread the word and increase awareness of RSABI’s wide range of services. We can provide financial help as well as farm reviews and practical help with steps to get people back on track.”
“Demand for emotional support from the agricultural community has stepped up significantly in the past year and is now the biggest area of support offered by the charity. RSABI is able to arrange counselling sessions very quickly when required, at a time when a referral via a GP could take months.
“We are pleased that more and more working farmers are reaching out to us. In recent months we have seen some exceptional results in terms of the mental health of farmers – aged in their 20’s upwards – who we have referred to our professional counsellors,” said Chris McVey, RSABI Welfare Manager.
“We are pleased that emotional wellbeing – and the steps to maintain and improve this - is increasingly being freely discussed in the agricultural community. This is very encouraging, and we are reminding people that, they can also contact us on behalf of an individual they may have concerns about, to get the ball rolling, as long as they have been given permission to do so.”
The charity, which was established on April 7th, 1897, will be launching a range of initiatives during the coming 12 months as well as extending its existing services.
As well as extending its Helpline services, the charity is also working on a new website aimed at clearly communicating the wide range of support it offers, in a way which is easy to navigate and resonates with younger people as well those more senior in age. As part of this a web chat function will be added to the website this summer to further extend the ways people can reach out for support.
RSABI’s 2022 Great Glen Challenge has a new sponsor, United Auctions, and a #Challenge125 initiative, aimed at collectively clocking up 125,000 kms, will start at the Royal Highland Show in June and run until the Great Glen Challenge on August 26th.
The Supporters’ Scheme has now been firmly established as a cornerstone of the charity’s income stream and a target of 125 new individual, business, and corporate supporters from all parts of the industry has been set for the year. RSABI will also be marking its 125th anniversary with a St Andrew’s dinner on December 2nd and details of the event will be announced in the coming weeks.