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Farming communities in Northern Ireland can now benefit from Strongheart’s mental health awareness expertise.

Leading educational workshop, ‘Well Aware’, has been adapted by Northern Ireland's College of Agriculture, Food & Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) as part of its 'Farm Family Key Skills' programme.

Re-branded for Northern Ireland as ‘Coping with the Pressures of Farming’, this training specifically designed to support awareness of mental health and wellbeing within the agriculture and horticulture industry, will continue to be delivered across the country for another three years through a partnership with the team at farming charity, Rural Support.

During the initial phase of rollout between November 2019 and March 2020 around 300 farmers, farm family members and farm workers took part in the initiative. Following the training:

  • 94% stated that they had improved knowledge in the subject area
  • 100% indicated that as a result of this workshop they would know where to look or who to contact if they, or someone they knew, needed help or support
  • 94% stated that they would recommend the training to others

Here is a sample of just some of the great feedback received ….

 "This was an outstanding exposure of the myriad of issues surrounding stress and suicide. The presentations by the Rural Support team including the screen presentation by Aarun Naik were nothing short of excellent. Thank you all!” 

“A great, interactive event well delivered. I would recommend it worthwhile for anybody to attend.”

“I learned you need to look after yourself and the family. Made me think more, especially well ahead. I am now 42. There is another day. No need to over-stress.”

“Thoroughly enjoyed the workshop, very well delivered with a lot of personal touches from facilitators. Keep promoting the workshop & thank you.”

“Very informative. I’ve never attended an evening like it.”

 

As the world continues to face the challenge of the Coronavirus pandemic, Strongheart is volunteering with two fantastic initiatives that offer free counselling and therapy to those on the frontline of Covid-19. 

Frontline19 is a UK nationwide service delivering emotional support, including free therapy, to frontline workers. Doctors, nurses, auxiliary staff, paramedics, ambulance drivers, midwives, social workers, care home staff, firefighters and police officers are all able to benefit from the scheme.

 

A separate initiative from the therapist-matching platform, Welldoing, similarly enables NHS workers throughout the UK to access free online counselling sessions.

 

The mental health of NHS workers has been described, by many, as 'at a tipping point'. At a time when the additional pressures of the Covid-19 response only add to the struggles of this workforce, Strongheart Counselling & Training is proud to be able to join with fellow professionals in providing support at this difficult time.

 

 

 

Strongheart Counselling & Training contributed to a recent episode of BBC's 'The Food Chain', which looked at the issue of stress and mental health amongst some of the world's farming communities.

The programme was broadcast on BBC World Service Radio and is available to download to listen as a podcast

There are a myriad of modalities and frameworks that can be used in the therapy process. However, as individuals we are all different and therefore, I believe an important part of the counselling process is finding the therapy style that best supports you. This is one of the benefits of an integrative approach which, as the name suggests, means I combine and weave a number of different modalities and styles. 

"Online counselling ... how does that work?". It’s a response I'm often met with when I tell people that this is one of the services I offer. 

In fact, online therapy is now a well-established field which, having been around since the 1980’s continues to grow so that these days you can even find online therapists offering counselling over email, through real time instant messaging and even via virtual reality 'Avatar' therapy! 

Having attended lots of NHS training over the years, this session was a breath of fresh air. Aarun is skilled, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about rural mental health. The listening element was a good skill to learn. If everyone went away with just an understanding of listening then a lot has been achieved. I also found the section on what to say to start difficult conversations very helpful.

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Jane: Field Nurse (Workshop Participant, Auction Mart-based health & wellbeing drop-in clinic)

Counselling

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Tailored training sessions on mental health awareness, stress management and resilience.

Appreciation

What they are saying about Strongheart.