Since June, the Pinstone team has been working with agriculture’s oldest charity, the Royal Agriculture Benevolent Institution (RABI). Our remit includes implementing a communications programme that facilitates the roll out of their ambitious 5-year strategy. Part of this is the introduction of services that better meet the changing needs of farming people.

Our first significant media output has been organising a press and stakeholder launch of RABI’s online wellbeing community and counselling service. The two virtual briefing sessions held on 20 October 2020 attracted over 65 attendees.

The team were responsible for the whole communications launch and stakeholder engagement strategy - from the seed of an idea back in the early summer to hosting the actual launch this week and everything in between. This involved working closely with the RABI team and Pinstone’s extensive industry network to bring the campaign to fruition.

“We know that farmers have continued to face exceptionally difficult times. Managing mental wellbeing and maintaining good mental health has emerged as one of the most significant issues facing our sector, which is already known for its higher than average levels of stress, depression, anxiety, and suicide,” says Alicia Chivers, RABI’s chief executive.

“Our aim is to make a real difference to the farming community -­ something that RABI has been dedicated to for the past 160 years. We believe early intervention and one-to-one support are essential to ensuring good mental health and tackling the root causes of poor wellbeing. We believe that providing confidential, easily accessible, free online support can make a real difference to a wide audience.”

Pinstone’s associate director, Hannah Lloyd, explains why raising awareness of the initiative is so important. “Throughout the build up to the launch, we’ve recognised the need to initiate frank and honest discussions throughout agriculture to tackle the stigma on this challenging subject.

“By reaching out to numerous stakeholders and organisations, we hope to amplify these important messages using their networks and communications channels and drive real change on the perception of mental health in farming. The launch of this online, confidential wellbeing and counselling website is really just the start of the process and we’re really excited to be working alongside RABI.”

The online counselling platform can be accessed here: https://rabi.org.uk/kooth.

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