The Scottish Government and agricultural charity RSABI (The Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution) have hailed the success of a campaign held in December which encouraged farmers and agricultural workers to open up about mental illness during the festive period.

The campaign was called ‘Don’t Wrap Up This Christmas’ and was a collaboration between the Scottish Government, RSABI, the National Farmers’ Union Scotland, Samaritans and Breathing Space. A recent survey carried out my SiMS (Support in Mind Scotland) and SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) found that 67% of respondents in rural areas had experienced depression.

Ewan Ferguson, Digital Manager at the Scottish Government, said: “Christmas can be a stressful time for many people for a number of reasons and this can especially affect people who live and work in rural areas, where some can feel lonely and cut off from others, due to the more isolated nature of life. The success of the campaign is evidence not just of an eagerness by people to put more focus on this issue within communities but of the sense of caring that exists in rural Scotland.”

Mags Granger, Welfare Manager at RSABI, said: “RSABI recognised the importance of the campaign and was very happy to be involved. RSABI are keen to get people in agriculture talking about their feelings so would be pleased to be involved in future campaigns.”

She added: “If you need urgent advice call Samaritans or Breathing Space. RSABI supports people from Scottish agriculture and our helpline is available from 7am to 11 pm, 365 days a year. RSABI can offer financial, practical and emotional support in times of need. The first step is to talk about your feelings or, if you are worried about someone, contact them and offer them some company. This can make a real difference.”

You can read more about the campaign on the National Farmers’ Union Scotland website HERE.