National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

09 May 2022

At the start of Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May), The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) is calling on all 580 Young Farmers’ Clubs to do something positive to help tackle mental health issues.

NFYFC President Nigel Owens MBE is leading the call and challenging all YFCs to add NFYFC’s wellbeing training session Rural+ to their club programmes. Nigel, who speaks openly about his personal struggles with mental health, is keen for clubs to start the conversation about mental health and look out for each other.

NFYFC President Nigel Owens MBE said:

“It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and I want YFCs to take urgent action. Many of us know that members of our community are struggling with their mental health and sadly some have felt there was no way out of the problems they faced. We have to do more to ensure everyone seeks the help they need. And YFCs can help make this happen.

“My challenge to all 580 YFCs this Mental Health Awareness Week is to get the Rural+ Curve module on their club programmes. This short interactive session will get clubs talking and help more rural young people to recognise the signs of mental health issues in themselves and others.

“Let’s work together to do as much as we can to build resilience and develop positive mental health for all our members.”

Mental Health Awareness Week is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation and is in its 22nd year.

This year, the theme for the week is ‘Loneliness’. Across the country, people will be reflecting on loneliness and how it impacts our mental health. Long-term loneliness is closely linked to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Throughout Mental Health Awareness Week, NFYFC will be sharing stories about the positive action Warwickshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (FYFC) has taken by committing to deliver the Rural+ session to all YFCs in the county. The County Federation decided it wanted to deliver Rural+ to all clubs following the death of one of its members, Len Eadon, who took his own life on New Year’s Day this year.

Megan Bailey, Warwickshire's County Training Officer, is delivering the sessions throughout the county. She said:

“The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is loneliness and the Rural+ Curve module is the perfect opportunity to start a conversation about that. It’s a positive module that focuses on wellbeing and resilience. It’s a great opportunity for members to sit down and talk together and do something practical.

“After the sad loss of one of our members, Warwickshire FYFC pledged to deliver Rural+ to all our clubs by the summer and we have nearly met our goal. We have received positive feedback from all of the clubs who have taken part so far and it has prompted really good conversations about our mental health. We recommend all other county federations make a similar pledge to us and ensure their clubs take part in these sessions to help the YFC community be more open about problems we may be facing.”

Rural+ was the brainchild of a former National Chairman of Council (2013/14) Claire Worden.

FCN, along with NFYFC and The DPJ Foundation, worked together to develop a new version of the Rural+ mental health training module last year, with funding from the Westminster Foundation. The session is targeted at YFCs and agricultural students yet to embark on their first placement or role in the industry. The training is collaborative and was developed with young farmers, young agriculture professionals and volunteers from FCN and The DPJ Foundation to ensure it is relevant and beneficial to young farmers.

Sessions focus on understanding stress and anxiety; managing personal mental wellbeing; how to talk about mental health; seeking support and supporting others. Many YFC Trainers have received extra training to be able to run the session in clubs and any YFC wishing to organise a session can speak to their county office or make a booking using NFYFC’s online form here

For more information about this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week visit mentalhealth.org.uk/mhaw or join the conversation on social media using #IveBeenThere and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.


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