By Kelly Henaughen

A FAMOUS funnyman is fronting a new mental health campaign aimed Scotland’s farming and crofting communities.

RSABI, the charity supporting people in Scottish agriculture, is launching the #KeepTalking campaign this Friday, May 21, fronted by Perthshire farmer and TV comedian Jim Smith.

The charity first ran the campaign in 2020, and after a year of restrictions and various lockdowns, they believe the message of #KeepTalking is more important than ever.

The four-week campaign will encourage people in farming and crofting to stay connected, to look out for each other, and to open up if they’re struggling, with RSABI available to provide support.

During the pandemic, demand for RSABI’s helpline services has significantly increased. From April 2020 to March 2021, its team made and received 2,734 calls, up 63 per cent on the previous year, with the charity’s telephone call out service coming into its own.

RSABI staff and volunteers are currently making regular calls to around 150 people in the agricultural community – where previously only around 30 to 50 were receiving a regular call.

“Social connection is so important for our mental wellbeing and the past year has been really difficult,” explained RSABI CEO Nina Clancy.

“We’re all looking forward to being able to meet up more with friends and family as restrictions ease, but it will be some time before we’re able to socialise as we used to.

“Agricultural shows and trips to the auction market are vital social gatherings that we’ll largely be missing out on again in coming months – although we’re very much looking forward to the Royal Highland Showcase. ”

For in-depth news and views on Scottish agriculture, see this Friday’s issue of The Scottish Farmer or visit