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FCN launches mental health initiative with PD Hook to support poultry farmers

FCN has launched a new mental health partnership with PD Hook – one of the biggest poultry firms in the UK.

Coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week (8th – 14th May), the aim of the partnership is to raise awareness of issues facing members of the poultry industry and wider farming community. The initiative also aims to promote the work of FCN as a charity that supports members of the farming community through times of stress, anxiety and depression.

For 22 years, FCN has been providing practical and pastoral support to those affected by poor mental wellbeing and suicide. This partnership was launched after one of PD Hook’s poultry farmers died in early 2017. It is estimated that, in the UK, approximately one farmer a week takes their own life.

James Hook, managing director of PD Hook, said: “Farming can be a very isolating and lonely occupation. Many of our poultry farmers spend long hours on their own with little or no form of social interaction. And because of the stigma that still exists surrounding mental health, many members of the farming community have difficulty opening up and talking about how they feel. So it comes as no surprise that farming continues to have one of the highest suicide rates of any occupation. Sadly, we have experienced just how devastating poor mental health can be. With support from FCN, we are determined to help break the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage our poultry farmers to open up and seek help when they need it. We are delighted to be working with, and supporting, FCN with this intiative.”

Charles Smith, FCN chief executive, said: “Simply talking to somebody can have such a positive impact if you are suffering from depression. But for many farmers, finding the time to talk to someone can be difficult. Furthermore, farmers are often more comfortable discussing their problems, in confidence, with a third party as they don’t wish to be a burden to their friends, work colleagues or relatives. This is where FCN can help. Our helpline is available 16 hours a day, every day, and are local volunteers are ready to provide a sympathetic ear to anyone struggling with depression. We also work with a variety of mental health services and can signpost farmers to local services available to them.

If you, or someone you know, has been affected by poor mental health or suicide, the FCN helpline is available from 7am-11pm every day of the year. Simply call 03000 111999, or email chris@fcn.org.uk.

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