Scottish young farmers highlight factors affecting mental health
A recent survey conducted by Scottish agricultural charity RSABI has brought to light the various factors impacting the mental health of young farmers. The survey, which included 114 participants between the ages of 16 and 30, revealed that the primary challenge affecting their mental well-being was long work hours, cited by 30% of respondents. Other issues included a hesitancy to discuss emotions (18%), isolation due to remote locations (16%), the cost of socialising (15%), and shyness (11%). Additionally, 6% expressed uncertainty about how to meet new people. The survey also highlighted the crucial role of social events, with an overwhelming 98% of participants recognising the importance of attending the Royal Highland Show for their mental health. Despite the rising demand for support services like RSABI, only 36% of young farmers were aware of the charity's free counselling services. Encouragingly, 68% felt confident in supporting someone close to them who was struggling with their mental health, but around 32% were uncertain about how to respond. The CEO of RSABI, Carol McLaren, stressed the significance of addressing social anxiety, especially as it has been exacerbated by lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. She urged the agricultural community to be proactive in reaching out to those who might be feeling lonely or low, emphasising that simple acts of kindness and connection could make a significant difference, potentially even saving a life.