RABI is launching an online wellbeing community and counselling service for farming people across England and Wales on 19 October as part of a new package of services designed to assist people deal with the mounting pressures those in the farming industry are facing from the many current uncertainties.
The initiative features two sites – Qwell.io/rabi for adults, while Kooth.com/rabi tailored to those aged 11-17. They are designed to provide safe and confidential online platforms and are being delivered in partnership with a specialist online mental health provider.
The websites include dedicated farmer friendly content that addresses farming sector specific challenges such as loneliness, Brexit anxiety, animal health and crop disease and farm debt
Alicia Chivers, RABI’s chief executive, explained that the new online initiative is part of RABI’s plans to evolve its services to better meet the changing needs of farming people.
“We know that farmers have continued to face exceptionally difficult times. Managing mental wellbeing and maintaining good mental health has emerged as one of the most significant issues facing our sector, which is already known for its higher than average levels of stress, depression, anxiety, and suicide,” said Ms Chivers.
“Our aim is to make a real difference to the farming community that RABI has been dedicated to for the past 160 years. We believe early intervention and one-to-one support are essential to ensuring good mental health and tackling the root causes of poor wellbeing. We believe that providing confidential, easily accessible, free online support can make a real difference to a wide audience.”
Users will be able to anonymously access farmer specific and more generic content, as well as a numerous discussion boards, case studies and messaging functions. There are also tools, such as a journal to record and track progress against personal goals, as well as tips and articles.
Users will also be able to access one-to-one counselling support from BACP recognised, qualified professionals through a chat function. The practitioners are trained in different forms of counselling, allowing them to meet individual needs and preferences.
Ms Chivers added: “We believe offering practical support through these sites is a constructive and hugely positive step forwards. It forms a key aspect of RABI’s ambitious five-year strategy that will extend our offering to a broader audience. We understand the issues that farmers face and really care about finding and developing tools that can assist. Our role is to offer encouragement so people can access the services they need, early enough to make a difference, hopefully preventing them from reaching crisis point.
“The launch of the online wellbeing community is a significant step towards achieving our vision that ‘no farmer should ever face adversity alone.”
To access the online counselling platform, visit the RABI website: https://rabi.org.uk/kooth.