Steps 2 Wellbeing

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How are you feeling?

Farmers and their families

Life has been hard for most of us this year but for farmers it just may have been additionally bad. Uncertainties about Brexit, politics around trade deals with America, changes to bureaucracy and finances for farmers, significant reduced farm income from diversification’s like weddings, holiday lets, track days, horse events and camping plus all the normal, exhaustion, insufficient manpower, low income, TB testings, illness in your flock or field, inability to see extended family after spending most of your hours in physically demanding labor like fencing or moving animals, taking out feed and generally as a lone worker.

Our UK farming population is getting older, the average age of a farmer is currently 59 and with age comes illness plus accidental injury or mortality to farmers or their families being higher in farming than in any other occupation in 2018/2019. An average of one farmer per week commits suicide according to 2018 results by the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA).

For this reason Steps2wellbeing is dedicated to offering psychological treatments for commonly occurring mental illness such as depression, low mood and anxiety, also programs around managing pain and long term conditions.

Steps2Wellbeing has a number of trained therapists who also come from farming backgrounds and may also farm themselves. We know that this is important to farmers and their families because the world of farming has its own very unique issues. It’s good to know that the person you’re speaking to really understands these pressures. One of our team, works 4 days a week for Steps2Wellbeing and three days as second shepherd on the families Dorset down land farm which is a mixture of sheep, arable, horses at livery and rewilding projects. The farm is also used as a location for a local therapist to deliver sessions in the open air and space if a treatment room seems to unfamiliar or claustrophobic. Having just dislocated her knee at the start of the Lambing period creative ways to continue working are now being investigated! She has worked with many farmers and families of farmers and the treatments to date have been hugely beneficial. We’ve delivered counseling after a suicide to a bereaved partner, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction to a farmer who was winding down a dairy farm to do tree planting and grazing for other livestock plus farm holidays with good changes to mental health.

To Self-Refer to our service please click here.

There are many organisations that we link with to support the mental health and wellbeing of our Dorset farmers.

Useful videos

The Hill Farmer

Useful resources

The Farming Community Network

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI)

Gay Farmer Helpline

Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI)

Research Project
Landscapes of Support: Farmer wellbeing and rural resilience through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic