Farming is a 24-hour profession, and it can be difficult to plan ahead for the long-term when you’re so focused on the short-term necessities. What needs to be done tomorrow can dominate our thoughts, and we’re often thinking in days and months rather than years.
The way farming can also blur the lines between home life and work-life can complicate matters – when working with family, it can be hard to have difficult conversations or to plan for the long-term future of the farm, and there can be little escape from work.
A lack of medium and long-term planning for the future of the farm business is frequently cited in cases presenting to FCN as causes of stress, anxiety, worries about the future and family disputes.
But even if you recognise a need to plan ahead, with so much change happening in farming, it can be difficult to know where to go to access information that could be beneficial or relevant.
What support options are available?
Thankfully, FCN’s FarmWell platform (farmwell.org.uk) is a free online resource providing up-to-date information to support farmers’ business resilience and personal wellbeing.
On the business side, there’s helpful information on all sorts of areas, including contingency planning, strategy and finance, diversification, changes in rural policy and much more.
And on the personal wellbeing side, there’s information about working safely, staying connected, recognising signs of mental ill-health in yourself and others and more.
Through FarmWell, over the last six months, FCN has been running a campaign called Time to Plan. The campaign has seen FCN work with a range of organisations and thought leaders to create articles, guidance, ‘top tips’ and more around a variety of topics – from diversification and succession planning to getting to grips with the post-Brexit support regime.
Through case studies and expert insights, this content is designed to support farmers in preparing for change and thinking about the future. The campaign is concluding at the end of this month.
You can find out more about Time to Plan and access the content here: https://farmwell.org.uk/time-to-plan/
Why your mental health deserves proper care
Mental health should be addressed in the same way as physical health
If you have a broken arm or a prolonged pain that doesn’t go away after a long period of time, most of us would agree that we should see a doctor. Physical pain is often easy to identify, and we can recognise the need to get it sorted to get back on our feet.
But many still don’t view mental health in the same way, and when they’re experiencing long periods of anxiety, depression or other forms of mental ill-health, some shy away from getting support and hope the problems will go away on their own.
We should try and change our thinking here. Good mental health benefits not only our personal lives and relationships but also the wider farm business. When we’re in a good place psychologically, our performance is often better, and we make fewer errors.
Through FarmWell, we highlight how business and personal resilience are intertwined and don’t occur in isolation. When we live well and work well, we also farm well – and we should make sure we take the necessary steps to look after both sides equally.
Marketing and Communications Manager
The Farming Community Network
This month we’ve teamed up with The Farming Community Network (FCN) to show our support for everybody across the farming community with our #SpeakUpBeHerd campaign, and our #MarchIntoMarch community challenge.
FCN is a charity and voluntary organisation providing practical and pastoral support to farmers in England and Wales. Many FCN volunteers are from farming backgrounds themselves and understand the unique pressures farmers face.
FCN runs a free, confidential Helpline (03000 111 999) which is open 7am-11pm every day of the year, as well as an e-Helpline (firstname.lastname@example.org).