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We Are Farming Minds: How is one farming couple conquering mental health taboos in rural communities?

An inspirational Herefordshire couple who founded a charity to support the mental heath of farmers in rural communities are to feature in an award-winning podcast by The National Lottery.

A couple, Sam and Emily Stables with donkeys on the background
Sam and Emily Stables founders of We Are Farming Minds.

*TW // This episode carries a trigger warning related to suicide. Listener discretion is advised.*

Sam and Emily Stables set up We are Farming Minds, following Sam’s struggles with his mental health which included a suicide attempt.

In the latest episode of The National Lottery’s Amazing Start Here podcast, TV presenter and former Olympian Sam Quek visited the Stables at their farm on the Duchy of Cornwall Estate at Kingsthorne to discover more about their incredible work.

Their organisation
aims to raise awareness of poor mental health in farming, which they claim is 46% higher than in other occupations due to isolation, long hours, and external pressures.

The situation in rural communities is made worse because of the lack of available support and the general stigma around mental health.

The charity now gives farmers a supportive space to have open conversations about loneliness, anxiety and depression.

With close to £150,000 worth of National Lottery funding, Sam and Emily have been able to provide a dedicated 24-hour helpline, a service staffed by them and a team of specially trained volunteers.

They also employ a dedicated Project Manager, funds counselling, and gives mental health awareness training to the wider agricultural community, including vets and feed reps.

They are taught how to spot the signs of mental illness when visiting farmers and how to offer support. They have already trained about 300 people this year and hope to reach more than 500 farmers through their various support networks.

Speaking on the podcast, Emily Stables said: “Currently the waiting list if you go to the GP is around 32 weeks to see a councillor, by which time, lives can be lost. Initially the charity was just going to be a 24h support line, but then being able to fund counselling within a week for anybody within the farming community.

“Then I got the National Lottery grant and we’ve been able to offer more and more services. It was an opportunity for people not to have to get to that crisis point that Sam did. To be able to talk to somebody and break that statistic of one farmer a week taking their own life in the UK.”

Sam Quek added: “As a former elite athlete, I’ve been fortunate to benefit directly from National Lottery funding and have seen how it’s helped us bring home medals galore from Olympic and Paralympic games.

“In this series, I will be meeting some impressive people who have been making their mark in all aspects of life across the UK and catching-up with some familiar faces to find out how National Lottery support has empowered them to turn their dreams into reality.

“I hope you can join me to find out where the amazing starts”.

Sam and Emily’s We are Farming Minds project is just one of the thousands of organisations throughout the UK which benefit from the £30 million raised every week for good causes by National Lottery players.

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