Young farmers tackle rural mental health

Stuart Jamieson, SAYFC national chairman.

Stuart Jamieson, SAYFC national chairman.

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A campaign has been launched to help young people in rural communities to become more aware of and deal with mental health issues that might affect them.

Unveiled by the Scottish Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs (SAYFC), the ‘Are Ewe Okay?’ campaign will over the next 12 months focus on raising awareness of mental well-being by encouraging rural youth to listen, talk and share.

The initiative was launched by MSP John Scott, Jill Sloan from RSABI and Stuart Jamieson, Young Farmers’ national chairman Stuart Jamieson.

Mr Jamieson said that one in four people in Scotland will suffer from poor mental health at some point, with nine out of 10 young people facing poor mental health reporting that they had received negative treatment from others. He said this is key to why ‘Are Ewe Okay’ will be a focus for Scotland’s largest rural youth organisation.

Mr Jamieson continued: “SAYFC has 3500 members who are aged between 14 and 30 so there are so many different life events and pressures going on during this period that can influence how they feel including education, relationships, employment, health and finance.

“This statistic is one of the reasons SAYFC has chosen to encourage those all-important conversations and break the stigma surrounding mental wellbeing. It’s about looking out for each other by taking the time to listen, offering a situation where someone feels confident enough to talk or by sharing information to aid our members. Everyone can get involved by just asking “Are Ewe Okay?”

The campaign will be delivered through social media and by raising awareness of poor mental health triggers and conditions, the association hopes to aid members with the knowledge they need to recognise the signs, and how to seek help.

Mr Jamieson concluded by highlighting the impacts of poor mental health across Scotland.

He said: “Scotland’s population continues to rise reaching the highest ever total in 2014 with the National Records of Scotland (NRS) estimating a population of over 5.3 million. We already know that one in four people in Scotland will suffer from poor mental health but to put it into context, more than 1.3 million individuals in Scotland will face mental health challenges during their lifetime.”

The campaign can be followed at www.sayfc.org/are-ewe-okay or via #AreEweOkay?