RABI, the UK’s leading farming mental health charity, announced at the House of Lords, it would be increasing its spending on mental health services by up to £10 million over the next five years. 

Joined by around 100 politicians, opinion formers and farming sector leaders, RABI’s pledge was made as they launched their year-long Empowering the Worth and Wellbeing of Farming People initiative.

The initiative aims to deepen engagement with partners and bring together the farming and wider agricultural sector to find solutions to increase the mental resilience of the farming community. It also focusses on ensuring Parliamentarians are aware of the mental health challenges facing farming people by making sure their voices are heard.

RABI’s Chief Executive Alicia Chivers said: “RABI see it as imperative that a more preventative approach to mental health and wellbeing is implemented, helping people talk about, identify, and tackle problems long before they become crises.”

The charity, which has supported the farming community with almost £1/4 billion over the past 25 years, also pledged to increase its focus on mental wellbeing programmes for young people and discuss and develop locally delivered wellbeing solutions that achieve results.

During the launch event, several industry organisations also pledged their support to the Empowering Worth and Wellbeing initiative, including:

  • National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs pledged to use RABI’s Click & Chat mental wellbeing platform. After completing a pilot scheme, the hope is this will be rolled out to thousands of Young Farmer Club members aged 11 and over.
  • Farm Safety Foundation pledged to work with RABI to introduce a new mental health training programme in agricultural colleges. This programme will be backed by ongoing support via access to RABI’s Click & Chat online mental wellbeing platform. Together, the two charities will work on a joint funding bid into DEFRA to help support year one of the training and wellbeing programme.
  • TIAH (The Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture) pledged to work with RABI on a bursary scheme. RABI will provide 500 bursary-supported memberships, which will provide access to TIAH’s training platform for farming people who wouldn’t otherwise have the means to utilise the scheme.

Speaking at the event, Farming Minister Sir Mark Spencer said he was pleased to see a growing awareness of mental health in farming and thanked RABI for the work they are doing.

He added: “I know firsthand the stressors that come with farming and looking out for the welfare of those within the industry, your friends and neighbours and those who you care deeply about is something that we can all do and all participate in.”

As part of RABI’s initiative, Sir Mark pledged to undertake their mental health training. He added: “Championing farmers is something I will always do. My final pledge is to make sure that this government and my department continue to value farming people, listen to what you tell us, and be 100% behind you.”

RABI is inviting people from all walks of life to pledge to recognise and support the importance of empowering the worth and wellbeing of farming people.

Politicians, industry organisations, and social media influencers all made their own pledges at our launch yesterday. Pledging may be a small step to take as individuals, but collectively, the pledges will raise awareness of the issues that farming people face and the invaluable support that RABI provides.

To find out more about RABI and how you can make a pledge, visit rabi.org.uk/pledge