Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Tough times? Rural Support can help

With so much talk of recession and the credit crunch, it would be hard not to feel stressed at the moment!

At times like this, the various support groups in the community and voluntary sectors have an increased role. Rural Support is one such organisation that is tailored to meet the needs of farmers and rural families across Northern Ireland. Through its 24-hour helpline, Rural Support offers a listening ear and signposting service to help deal with stress. The helpline is staffed by trained volunteers, all from a rural background. Among the volunteers are counsellors, farmers and people who have worked for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The organisation also has connections with the Samaritans, Citizens’ Advice and various farming groups.

With such a strong support base, Rural Support is well placed to offer both emotional and practical support. It can help relieve stress and also tackle the causes. Sometimes, just talking things through is enough.

Other times, more targeted and longer-term assistance is required. Rural Support assesses each caller’s needs and will ensure that the right help is found. All calls are in confidence.

Among the issues that Rural Support can help callers address are:

stress, anxiety and depression;

self-harm and thoughts of suicide;

financial or debt worries;

problems with farming paperwork;

general information and signposting.

An additional service that Rural Support offers is a free, one-hour finance consultation in partnership with FGS McClure Watters. If a caller is experiencing financial difficulties, Rural Support can refer him or her to this service to help identify options.

If you or someone you know are experiencing stress and would like to talk to someone in confidence, Rural Support’s helpline number is 0845 606 7 607 (lo-call number) and is available 24 hours per day, seven days a week.