A new campaign launching this week (22 November) by The Farming Community Network (FCN) charity encourages people across farming and agriculture to recognise the people in their lives that help to support them during difficult times by asking them one simple question: ‘Who’s Your Julie?’.
The ‘Who’s Your Julie?’ campaign is inspired by FCN Ambassador, mental health advocate and Lincolnshire farmer Charles Anyan, who has a close friend named Julie. Julie is someone he can always confide in – when he’s feeling stressed, he is able to speak with Julie and discuss the issues or worries on his mind.
‘Julie’ represents the reliable people in our social circles who are there to listen and support us. Your ‘Julie’ might even be your pet cat or dog.
The ‘Who’s Your Julie?’ campaign encourages people to think about their own ‘Julies’ – whether that be a good friend, a mate down the pub, a sibling or a parent – and to recognise the support networks they have.
And if someone doesn’t have a ‘Julie’, the campaign encourages them to find one – either by talking to FCN, engaging with local support networks or by speaking with other people taking part in the campaign.
The campaign follows new research by FCN and the University of Exeter’s Centre for Rural Policy Research that shows that many farmers can feel isolated and disconnected, and that talking and finding time to socialise can have a positive effect on mental health.
FCN is a voluntary organisation and charity that supports farmers and families within the farming community through difficult times. FCN operates a confidential national Helpline (03000 111 999) which is open every day of the year from 7am to 11pm. Each year FCN supports approximately 6,000 people with a wide range of issues, including mental health, family disputes, animal welfare and planning for the future.
FCN is encouraging people to share social media posts and videos using the hashtag #MyJulieIs to talk about their support networks, tagging them in the post to create a chain of support across agriculture and helping to reinforce the message that it’s OK to ask for help and to talk to others.
Charles Anyan, FCN Ambassador, said: “I’m delighted to have been involved in the development of the ‘Who’s Your Julie?’ campaign, alongside my own ‘Julie’. Recognising that a problem shared is a problem halved can help us to deal with challenging situations and find a positive way through them. I encourage everyone across agriculture to get involved in the campaign, sharing who their own ‘Julies’ are and encouraging others to do the same. We want to ensure everyone has a ‘Julie’. Please remember as well that charities such as The Farming Community Network are also here to listen and support you during difficult times. Help is always out there.”
Alex Phillimore, Marketing and Communications Manager with FCN, said: “Many of us will have our own ‘Julies’, who are the people – or even pets – in our lives we can talk to and if needed vent to when we’re feeling stressed or worried. This could be friends, family or a particular person down the local pub who you’ve known for years.
“FCN recognises the value of talking. Talking – and accepting help – is often the first step towards recovery when we’re going through a difficult time or our mental health is suffering. The ‘Who’s Your Julie?’ campaign hopes to recognise the people in our lives who are there for us, promoting a positive message over the winter period.
It’s also important to mention that if someone doesn’t have a ‘Julie’, support networks such as FCN are here to help (contact 03000 111 999 / email@example.com) and remind people they are part of a community that understands the challenges and pressures of farming.