Sustainable Scotland: Young farmers test-drive live-chat app to help cultivate better mental health

Young Scottish farmers are testing out a pioneering new app that gives access to qualified therapists at the touch of a button in a bid to help workers in the agricultural industry to care for their mental health.

The technology, which includes a live chat option, is being rolled out to members at three branches of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs as part of a pilot project by RSABI, a charity dedicated to supporting the welfare of agricultural workers.

It’s the first time the Thrive app, which is approved by the NHS and available to almost four million users worldwide, has been adopted within the farming sector in the UK.

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Those taking part in the trial will be able to access a wide range of resources on mindfulness, relaxation techniques and cognitive behavioural therapy. Anyone who needs further support can access confidential in-app support from mental health professionals, who will be on hand 12 hours a day to discuss worries or stressors.

Fully funded by RSABI, the service is being trialled by club members in Aberfeldy, Biggar and Cupar over the next 12 months.

RSABI chief executive Carol McLaren said: “We know mental health and well-being is a major priority for young farmers, which is why we’re delighted to be running this pilot of Thrive with the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs.

“We hope the app will help everyone taking part to look after their mental well-being, just as they would their physical health, and enable them to access the level of support they need – whether that’s using the in-app therapy or using the resources to improve sleep and resilience against stress. The app is also helpful for those who want to support a friend, family member or colleague who is struggling.

“The pilot of the Thrive app is part of our drive to encourage more young people to use RSABI’s services. It follows the introduction of a 24-hour confidential webchat service on our website, as well as extending our freephone helpline to run 24 hours a day.”

Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs national manager Sheena Foster, RSABI chief executive Carol McLaren and Biggar Young Farmers Club chair Ross Jackson

Annabel Brown, SAYFC’s development and well-being chair, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside RSABI and Thrive to pilot this app with young farmers across Scotland. With so many challenges facing young people, this app will provide a range of support and resources to help improve their mental health and well-being.”

Sarah Singleton, senior relationship manager at Thrive, added: “We are really proud to support young farmers in Scotland through our relationship with RSABI and look forward to continuing to develop the support available.”

If you’re involved in Scottish agriculture and struggling with your mental well-being, RSABI can help in a number of ways – including providing practical and financial support.

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The charity’s free, confidential support service is available 24/7, including over Christmas and New Year, on freephone 0808 1234 555, by emailing [email protected] or using the webchat service on the RSABI website https://www.rsabi.org.uk.

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