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#KeepTalking Week – RSABI Guest Blog

We have all heard the old saying it is good to talk. And our #KeepTalking campaign is encouraging everyone in the agricultural community to do just that, writes RSABI Welfare Manager Chris McVey.

The campaign, supported by NFU Scotland and a host of other industry organisations, is encouraging people to take the time to stay connected, look out for each other, and to seek support if they are struggling.

During the week starting 14 June we are asking you all to make the extra effort to get in touch with someone you have not spoken to for a while for #KeepTalking Week. That could be a neighbour, an old college friend, or someone you would normally catch up with at the Royal Highland Show.

Take ten or fifteen minutes out of your day that week to give someone a quick call or drop them a message. Or you could make a call to someone every day of the week.

Even a short chat or message can really make all the difference to someone who is feeling low or lonely.

And if you are stuck for conversation why not use the Royal Highland Showcase as a starting point? The event will see hours of live and on demand entertainment available from 14 June. You could watch an event virtually with others, or in person as allowed – or catch up afterwards to discuss if the judges got things right!

After a year of living through various restrictions we think the #KeepTalking message has never been more important.

At RSABI our helpline service is busier than ever, with demand on our telephone call out service increasing significantly. We are currently making regular calls – twice weekly, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly – to around 150 people in the agricultural community. Prior to the pandemic this would have been at around 30-50 people.

In the 20/21 financial year our small and dedicated team of staff and volunteers made and received an average of 228 calls per month – up 63% on the previous year.

Farming and crofting can be isolated industries at the best of times, and the pandemic has only exacerbated this. Although restrictions are easing many of the people we are supporting are still fed up, and missing things like agricultural shows and trips to the auction markets.

Reaching out for help if you are struggling is not always easy, but it is an important first step.

One of our clients recently said: “I feel so much better after making the call to RSABI – I wish I had done it six months ago.”

We would encourage anyone who is feeling down or isolated to give us a call. We offer a friendly and confidential listening ear.

Our Case Officer Jan explains why it is so important to talk:

“We’ve all heard the old saying ‘a trouble shared is a trouble halved’, and one of the best ways to reduce stress is to talk about how you are feeling.”

“Our helpline is busier than ever providing emotional support, giving people the chance to talk openly and in complete confidence about what is troubling them. This can often be the first step in opening up, and then perhaps going on to speak to family and friends.”

“Just by sharing the burden it can feel like some pressure has been lifted. It can also stop a problem from getting worse, as talking about it can often clarify the situation and help you arrive at a solution. By talking to someone else you may find that they are able to suggest options you had not considered.”

“Now, more so than ever, it is important to #KeepTalking.”

If something is on your mind do not hesitate to give RSABI a call on 0300 111 4166.

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