Over the last year, health and wellbeing have become some of the biggest topics on everyone’s lips. We’re now all talking about it more than ever before, giving it the time, awareness and attention it demands.

This is undoubtedly, absolutely a positive thing!

Of course we all still have a long way to go - more to be learned and understood about mental health; more people to help; and many more conversations to be had. And this is especially true for people living and working in and around the farming industry.

Farming and rural life can be famously lonely for some of us throughout the community. That’s why we’re dedicating March to really broadcast the message that you’re not alone - we’re stronger when we come together as a community; there are people and support networks out there ready and willing to listen; and, more than anything, it’s ok to ask for help! 

No challenge ever has to be tackled solo - help is just a simple conversation away.

To help us share this message, this month we’ve teamed up with FCN - the Farming Community Network - to show our support for everybody across the farming community; everybody who has endured a particularly tough year thanks to various unique challenges 2020 has thrown our way. FCN is a national charity of volunteers who help approximately 6,000 farmers and farming families in need across the UK. 

They do incredible work, and we’re privileged to be working alongside them for our #SpeakUpBeHerd campaign!

What is #SpeakUpBeHerd?

#SpeakUpBeHerd is the name we’re giving to our month of wellbeing-themed activities alongside the FCN. 

Together, we hope to encourage the community to open up and continue talking to each other; to spread awareness of the various resources and tools available to people looking for help (or to offer support of their own to); and, most importantly, let everybody know that it’s ok to speak up, and be heard. 

By now, many of us are a lot more familiar with the ‘whats, whys and hows’ of mental health than we were even a year ago. The problem is that, as much as we continue to have big conversations about it, there are still many in the farming community who don’t feel confident enough or find it difficult to ask for help before they reach a crisis point.

All our efforts will be towards helping people build up the courage to take that first, vital step.

Who are FCN?

Founded in 1995, FCN have spent the last 26 years helping to support farmers not just during periods of crisis, but also advocating for early intervention to support farmers and farming families during difficult times. 

With volunteers located across England and Wales helping countless members of the farming community across two-and-a-half decades, they have heaps of info and insight to share.

A natural choice to team up with for this campaign, right? We’re privileged to have their support and, together, we hope to really get this important conversation spreading far and wide!

Be sure to check out our recent Q&A session with FCN, where we learned more about who they are and some of the amazing work they do to support the UK farming community.

So, what will we be doing?

For starters: we’re going to be positive! 

We have a lot of action planned throughout March to keep the conversation (and enthusiasm) ticking along! You can expect…

  • #SpeakUpBeHerd Live Discussion and Q&A with FCN 

You can look forward to a live chat with the FCN team around the mental health stigma in farming, plus a Q&A session where you’ll have an opportunity to share your burning queries and have your say.

We can’t wait to get our teeth stuck into this discussion, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts and questions too!

  • Wellbeing Blog Series

Throughout the month, we’ll be exploring the various facets of mental health and farming: sharing some of the key industry facts from the FCN, and exploring the support resources available to people looking to take their first steps towards seeking help.

We’ll also be hearing from farmers who have kindly been sharing their personal experiences with us. There are some really uplifting tales to tell - so be sure to keep your eyes peeled!

  • #MarchIntoMarch Community Challenge

We all know that getting enough exercise has a positive impact on our health, both physically and mentally. We also know that farmers have worked consistently throughout the pandemic to feed the nation. 

So we’re mixing both of these elements together in a community challenge, running through to the end of March.

Read our blog to learn more about #MarchIntoMarch, what's involved and how you, your friends, and family can all get involved!

  • Following #SpeakUpBeHerd on Social Media

You’ll be able to keep up with all of this action (plus lots more) across our social media channels throughout the month. Expect to see more positive stories, wellness insights and videos appearing in your feeds very soon.

We’ll also be teaming up with a number of influencers and brand ambassadors too. We’re not giving any secrets away for the moment: you’ll just have to keep your peepers peeled online to see who these fine folk are and how they’ll be getting involved!

Our Twitter and Facebook pages will also be the place to follow all the latest community challenge updates - so make sure you pop by to share your progress!

Marching Into March

There are a lot of exciting activities to pack into a single month, so we’d better get a wriggle on!

You can stay up-to-date with all of the latest #SpeakUpBeHerd action by following us on Facebook and Twitter, including more info on our upcoming Facebook live event, and community challenge updates. 

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for new blogs here on our website too! 

Keen to take your involvement further? More information about volunteering with FCN can be found here.

Want to know where your nearest FCN group is located? You can view a map and further details of FCN’s groups here: https://fcn.org.uk/your-local-fcn-team/