Samaritans has been available to anyone in distress or despair or feeling suicidal since 1953 with its first branch in Scotland in 1959. Today the charity has more than 200 branches operating across the UK and Republic of Ireland, including 19 branches here in Scotland.
Throughout the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, Samaritans has continued to provide emotional support, 24/7 for anyone who needs it.
It recognises that people in every community might need its services at some time in their lives but since the summer of 2020, the Aberdeen Branch of Samaritans has been working on a project to reach the farming and agricultural communities.
Elaine, who was Aberdeen Branch Director when this project began and is now a Deputy Regional Director for Samaritans Scotland, said: “Samaritans is here for everyone, but we know there are some very specific challenges for the farming community.
“ That’s why we are working to make sure this community know we are there for them along with everyone else.
“We know from talking with members of the farming community about the loneliness and isolation, the unpredictable influence of the weather, the community and family expectations that they will be strong and on top of all that there has been the pandemic and changes brought about by Brexit.”
Sponsorship of the sheep section of the Scottish Agricultural Show again this year provides another great opportunity to spread the word that whatever is on your mind or troubling you, Samaritans will listen and are available 24/7 every day of the year.
The wider project it has working on for the last year has been supported by funds from the LNER Customer and Community Investment Fund.
It includes regular articles in the Press & Journal both in print and online. There will be huge banners around Aberdeenshire over the summer reminding everyone of Samaritans phone number – 116123.
A really exciting part of the project is a video called “Unearthing Farming Lives” which has been produced through a collaboration with local farmers, NFUS, RGU and Live Aberdeenshire and is available by clicking here.
The film aims to highlight the hidden mental health issues which exist within the agricultural industry to a wide-ranging audience, including fellow farmers and their staff, the broader agricultural supply sector, educational establishments and politicians.
David Horne, LNER Managing Director, said: “The ‘Unearthing Farming Lives’ production is an important project that we are keen to support through the LNER Customer and Community Investment Fund.
“It will highlight the mental health issues that exist in the agricultural community whilst raising awareness of the Samaritans and the support the organisation can provide for those in need.”
Elaine added: “Our free helpline is available 24/7 for anyone who’s struggling to cope, who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure. Those who contact us do not need to be in crisis, they may just need someone to listen.”