Nurses from Dolgellau Hospital’s Outpatient Department have received backing from a popular Welsh television presenter in their bid to encourage good health and wellbeing in the rural community.
The Meirionnydd hospital has developed as a Health Promotion Hub and in the past year has focused on men’s health inequalities.
staff nurse Anne Thomas and Healthcare support Worker steven evans Jones have now launched a new initiative to help support men who experience mental health issues, in particular farmers.
Their initiative has also received support from FuW’s education and training committee chairman and s4C’s Ffermio presenter, Alun elidyr.
Anne said: “Having made links with the farming community, we were aware that it was difficult for farmers to find support when it was most needed. Financial worries, social isolation, emotional and relationship problems and physical stress can all contribute to poor mental health.
“Our research told us that there was a need for accessible and confidential help so we have discussed our approaches to supporting men’s mental health with third sector agencies. This includes the Men’s sheds Charity and the Farming Community Network who has provided us with excellent posters and leaflets.
“We plan to distribute the Farming Community Network helpline cards throughout the farming community, to police, to the veterinary practice, Post Office, the local college and local businesses.”
Alun, from rhydymain, who has battled depression following his mother’s death, has given the initiative his backing.
He said: “In November 2014 I found my 90-year- old mother dead at the bottom of the stairs at our farm house and that triggered a feeling of worthlessness. I blamed myself and I didn’t see any purpose in carrying on as I’d been looking after her for a number of years on the farm so I didn’t know what to do anymore.
“After she left us I lost all purpose of living and I started to panic about everything, I didn’t know what it was and I started to have suicidal thoughts.
“I confessed I had these feelings to my partner who persuaded me to go and see my GP. I was told I had severe depression and it was from that point I started talking about my feelings which in the end saved me.
“I fully support the team at Dolgellau Hospital and I will be offering them all of my support with this initiative.”
The initiative has also received support from North Wales Police’s rural Crime Team, Gwynedd Council, Dolgellau Town Council, FuW, NFu Cymru and The Farming Community Network.
FuW Meirionnydd county executive officer Huw Jones, said: “We in the FuW are here to help in every way we can. We can use our committee and office structure to disseminate information, to get the message across to the farming community that help is always available.
“Farming can be a lonely and isolated job for many, but there is always someone prepared to listen, to talk, and farmers need to realise that they are not alone.
Farming is undoubtedly facing major change, and this can bring uncertainty and anxiety, so this initiative by the Dolgellau Hospital team is more important than ever.”
steven said that there is a definite role for rural community hospital Out Patient Department nurses to open their doors and to reach out to their
community providing the resources for farmers and other community groups.
He said: “There is so much work to be done but we have been overwhelmed by the positive and enthusiastic response from so many people in the community who want to help us provide support and information to farmers to encourage health and wellbeing.
“We believe that this is because there is a very real and unmet
need in our community distressed and if it is happening in our community then it is likely to be the case in other rural areas of Wales.”
If you feel you need advice or support you can contact The Farming Community Network helpline on 03000 111999 from 7am to 11pm seven days a week.