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Farming Community Network urges farmers in the east of England not to suffer in silence

National rural charity the Farming Community Network (FCN) is urging agricultural workers in the east of England not to suffer in silence this winter, as the industry enters one of the most challenging periods it has ever faced.

The charity, which provides support to farming families and others who work in the industry, has seen a significant shift in the reasons people are calling its helpline during recent months – with an increase in calls relating to mental health.

Mark Thomas, FCN’s helpline manager and regional director for the south of England, said: “Nearly half of all calls made to our support helpline over the past four months have related to mental health and wellbeing, overtaking financial difficulties which has previously been the most common factor in calls received.

Rural charity The Farming Community Network (42826335)
Rural charity The Farming Community Network (42826335)

“The Covid-19 pandemic has affected many farmers and their businesses and 2020 has also brought a range of other challenges – such as flooding and drought in different parts of the UK, poor crop yields and concerns about the short and long term effects post-Brexit rural policy may have on the industry. All of these heighten feelings of stress and anxiety and put pressure on family relationships.

“FCN encourages those living in rural communities to get in touch with us. Whether the issues you’re experiencing are big or small, no one should have to suffer in silence.

"Every year we help hundreds of farming families through difficult times. Our volunteers throughout England and Wales, many of whom are from farming backgrounds, are here to help.”

FCN's confidential helpline can be contacted on 03000 111 999 and e-helpline is available at help@fcn.org.uk which is open every day of the year from 7am to 11pm. FCN’s helpline is operated by volunteers who are from farming backgrounds and understand farming pressures.

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