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09 Jun 2022

Mental health training for agronomists

As featured in Arable Farming Magazine

Mental health training for agronomists

by Arable Farming Magazine April issue

The free training programme will help agronomists identify and engage with those suffering from mental health issues.

Concerns about mental health in the farming community are becoming increasingly prominent and BASIS Registration is hosting a seminar to equip agronomists and advisers who may have concerns to identify and address the issues.

The mental health awareness programme has been developed in partnership with the DPJ Foundation, a charity focused on addressing mental health issues within the farming community.

BASIS initially worked with DPJ on a podcast which generated so much response that the course was developed.

Kate Miles, charity manager at the DPJ Foundation, says: Mental health problems are more common among farmers than asthma or diabetes, yet too few people seek help.

The charity was established five years ago to help those engaged in farming who have mental health issues.

Working from a base in Haverfordwest, DPJ delivers training across the UK and beyond.

Agronomists often have a close, enduring and trusting relationship with their farming clients.

Therefore, it is important that they can both identify people at risk and also know what to do and how to get help.

This course has been developed between DPJ and BASIS to be specific to agronomists.

The training is delivered by the DPJ Foundation whose experience supporting farmers and those from rural communities ensures the course is relevant and tailored to participants needs.

Spot the signs Over the course of three-and a-half hours, participants will gain an understanding of how to spot the signs of illness; how to engage with a potential sufferer; how to listen a particularly important skill; and how to encourage them to access the increasing range of support being offered by a range of services and charities across the UK, adds Miss Miles.

BASIS chief executive officer Stephen Jacob says: I am delighted that we have been able to develop this training in conjunction with the DPJ Foundation.

A recent survey found that 88% of farmers under the age of 40 felt mental health was the biggest danger facing the industry.

Agronomists, by virtue of their regular contact with farmers, are in an ideal position to spot issues and to encourage clients to seek help.

I believe caring for clients is as important as caring for crops today.

Each training session will be limited to 16 participants and, depending on the success of the pilot more will be arranged.

Participation is free, but delegates are asked to consider making a contribution to the DPJ Foundation.

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