Our latest news and upcoming events...
The DPJ Foundation South Wales Winter Ball is back!
Join us for a delicious 3 course dinner, dancing and celebration as the DPJ Foundation marks the end of another year working with Welsh Farmers to improve mental health and well-being. A raffle will take place on the night and entertainment will be provided by Jukebox Tonic.
We will also be revealing our new project…
Tickets are £45, please book HERE by 22nd November!
Join one of our HopeWalks
HOPEWALK is an annual campaign run by Papyrus to raise awareness and highlight the help and support that is available to support individuals and families affected by suicide. This year we are holding our own series of HOPEWALKs and we invite you to join us. Visit our Eventbrite page for more details.
Top Tips For Exam Season
Check out these 3 helpful tips for exam season from our Regional Champion and agri graduate Hannah Rees.
Hannah has had her fair share of exams having recently graduated from Harper Adams Uni with a BSc in Agriculture. Hannah says:
“You are not alone with feeling stress, anxiety or pressure around exam time. Here’s some personal tips of mine to help you through. Remember The DPJ Foundation is here to support you 24/7 and even have a text line if you don’t feel like talking on the phone.”
Hannah’s top tips:
1) Take time to have a work life balance, meet friends, take time for hobbies and take breaks from the books & laptop.
2) Don’t compare yourself to others, people will always share the good times not necessarily the bad times, just because someone got 80% in one exam doesn’t mean they may not struggle in others.
3) Remember support doesn’t end on the farm with The DPJ Foundation. Wherever you are studying or taking a break, the Share The Load support line is 24/7 and completely confidential. Our Share The Load team of volunteers are not publicly known, unlike Regional Champions (which is what I am), and most are from an agri background, so they know the pressures of farm life alongside learning at school or uni, which really helps!
I don’t take calls, but I do know that having the confidence to call is a big step, so please feel assured our helpline really is confidential and your identity will never be shared among volunteers.
☎️ 0800 587 4262
Or text (only) 📱 07860 048799
Nervous about the possibility of uni after the summer? Check out Hannah’s uni tips on Instagram page.
Parenting at exam time? You are not alone, take a listen to Sian’s experience on our YouTube channel.
We also have mental health awareness training opportunities for students.
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week (15th – 21st May) and this year’s theme is the common mental health disorder: Anxiety
What is anxiety?
Anxiety can be described as a feeling of apprehension or dread in situations where there is no real threat or it is disproportionate to the situation faced. Sometimes we feel anxious about things that have happened in the past, are about to happen, or which we think could happen in the future.
Although all of us will experience anxiety in our lives from time to time, anxiety as a disorder impacts your ability to live your life as fully as you want to. Let’s face it, there is often something to feel anxious about, whether that is a TB test, challenging weather, strained relationships or financial pressure. To some extent, anxiety can be useful as it alerts us to important things that need attention. However, when anxiety becomes excessive and lasts a long time, it becomes a more serious issue and can impact on our ability to live and work.
Anxiety can affect people differently:
Feeling restless or tense, out of control, irritable, or angry
Rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, trembling/shaking, “butterflies”, feeling sick or body aches
More intense symptoms can also include panic attacks – episodes of feeling scared, nauseous, and struggling to breathe – which people often don’t recognize as anxiety right away
Frequently people ‘deal’ with anxiety by avoiding certain activities, having a short temper or ‘blowing up’ more often, or using substances like alcohol or illegal drugs
When is anxiety a problem?
Whilst feeling anxious is a part of life, anxiety can become a problem if it impacts your ability to live your life on or off the farm as fully as you would like to. For example, it may be a problem if:
your feelings of anxiety are very strong or last for a long time
your fears or worries seem bigger than the situation at hand or have no obvious root
you avoid situations on the farm or in your social life that might cause you to feel anxious
your worries feel very distressing or are hard to control
you regularly experience symptoms of anxiety, which could include panic attacks
you find it hard to go about your everyday life on the farm
you engage in risky behavior or use substances to ease your feelings
Our YouTube channel features videos from many farmers and agricultural workers who have shared their personal experiences with anxiety. These may be helpful or interesting when spotting the signs of anxiety in yourself or others around you.
What can help with anxiety?
When you feel overwhelmed by anxiety, shifting your focus can be helpful. This may be by doing something you enjoy or through using techniques such as distraction, grounding and breathing exercises. The Calm Harm app uses Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) to help manage thoughts and emotions. Whilst created for young people with the urge to self harm, it is really helpful for feelings of anxiety and gives a range of suggestions that can help switch your thinking away from your anxious thoughts.
Physical activity can also be a great way to work off some of the tension that accompanies anxiety. Whether that is ditching the quad for a walk or doing some dedicated exercise, it really can help.
Focus on what you can change and what is good in your life. Speak to friends and family to see if your anxiety is proportionate or whether you may be overthinking a situation. If you prefer, you can call or text our Share the Load volunteers who are at the end of the phone and will be able to confidentially support you and connect you with one of our professional counsellors if you choose.
Our Share The Load support line is available 24/7:
Call 0800 587 4262 or you can text 07860 048799
We also suggest speaking to your GP or visiting Silvercloud online: nhswales.silvercloudhealth.com/signup
Become a Trustee
Since being founded in 2016, the DPJ Foundation has successfully raised the profile of health and well-being issues in the agricultural community and introduced innovative services such as “Share the Load” and Agriculture-focused Mental Health Awareness Training. We are now looking for new trustees to join us and lead the next stage of its development.
What we are looking for
We are looking for strategically minded people to join our Board as trustees. We are at an exciting time of our development as we look to deepen the impact of our work and reach more farmers across the whole of Wales.
We are looking for people who are:
1. Aged 18 or over
2. Passionate about improving mental health services in Wales
3. Keen to support the farming community in Wales
4. Familiar with good practice in Charity Governance
5. Able to meet 2 (or more) of the following criteria:
· Personal experience of poor mental health (ideally within agriculture) to ensure the voices of people with experience are heard at Board level;
· An understanding of charity financial management with an ability and willingness to take on the role of Treasurer;
· Experience in managing and developing health and social care services to support how we develop our offer;
· Experience in generating income e.g. via grant applications, social enterprise or tenders etc to enable financial stability and sustainability; or
· Experience in business and strategic planning.
6. Able to commit to up to 1.5 hours per month for meetings in addition to a further 1.5 days per year for strategic planning and training. Trustees currently meet once a month via Zoom with papers being sent out in advance with meetings on a Monday evening at 6pm. There will occasionally be some email correspondence between meetings.
We would particularly welcome applications from fluent Welsh speakers and from those living or working in North Wales.
What you get in return
A fantastic opportunity not just to make a difference in an area that matters to you, but also to develop your skills and build your network. We will be able to fund some training and will provide reimbursements for any travel and expenses that you incur whilst volunteering.
How to find out more information
To find out more about who we are at The DPJ Foundation, browse our website or join us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn). To apply, please send us a copy of your CV and a covering letter which includes how you fit the criteria outlined above and why you are applying for the role to email@example.com
A Disclosure and Barring Service check is required before undertaking this role. Having a criminal record will not necessarily preclude you from volunteering as we consider each case individually. However, if you have any concerns, please contact us before applying.
If you would like an informal chat our Charity Manager, Kate Miles, can be contacted on 07984 169652 or firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions you may have.
Understanding Bereavement & Grief – free training session
It’s inevitable that bereavement and grief will affect us all at some
point during our lives and it can sometimes be difficult to know what to say to those
who have lost a loved one, especially those bereaved by an unexpected death, like
an accident or suicide.
Here at The DPJ Foundation we have developed new training to help understand grief and
bereavement. This free short course which is funded by the Welsh Government’s Bereavement Support Fund is available to anyone in Wales to help develop understanding of grief and bereavement in a farming context.
Kay, our Training Manager who also delivers the training, alongside some of our volunteers, shares:
“Bereavement is something that will affect us all at some point during our lives. It’s a sad fact that sudden death, from traumatic events, like suicide or an accident, affect farming families in Wales much
too often, with the impact rippling out far into the surrounding community. How we experience grief will be different for everyone, but it can affect our emotions, our behaviours, and our thoughts. Without the right support, it may lead to a longer-term decline in our mental health and wellbeing. There is no road map or timetable to grief, some people can grieve for months, others for years. Being supported by
family, friends and the wider community can be a huge factor in enabling bereaved people to grow their life around the sadness and pain of their loss.”
This new training course will help people understand more about bereavement and grief: how it affects people; the additional worries and pressures linked to sudden and traumatic death; what are the right things to say and the best ways to support people who have experienced a loss. It will also cover details of the support offered by us here at The DPJ Foundation and other charities and agencies specialising in
Kay also shared:
“When someone dies, we want to be there for those who are grieving, but don’t always know the best way to support them. We might worry about what to say, what help and support to offer those who are suffering. We might think, particularly where someone has taken their own life, that it’s easier to avoid the family, not to say anything for fear of upsetting them, or feel awkward finding the right words. When someone dies, whatever the circumstances, we should always offer our condolences and offer practical support where we can. This is especially the case in farming, where animals need to be fed, milking may need to be done, or the paperwork still needs to be completed. This training will help provide the
confidence to offer that support.”
We are keen to offer this course to agricultural communities in Wales free of charge. To book your place please head over to our training page.
Or to check out the upcoming dates for the ‘Understanding Bereavement and Grief’ course, head over to our Eventbrite page. We will be adding more dates throughout 2023.
Don’t forget our Share the Load helpline service is here 24/7 to help with anything you want to talk about. Our professional counsellors are experienced in helping people who have been bereaved and who are dealing with grief and loss. If you have been bereaved and would like to speak to someone who will listen and who can help, please get in contact us so we can support you or help you support those who might be struggling.
To talk: 0800 587 4262
Or text: 07860 048799
We are excited to introduce to you a new member of our small staff team, Beth Gibbon.
Beth will be our part time Team Co-ordinator based in our office at Carmarthen Market. Beth, who has been involved in farming for all of her life, now farms with her husband and father-in-law on a dairy and beef farm that has recently diversified with a milk vending machine. Beth will be looking after our volunteers and staff and coordinating some of our activities. Whilst she won’t be involved in taking calls on our helpline or providing support to people using our service, she will be making sure that our volunteers are supported and have all the training and resources that they need. Beth will usually be based at our office at the Rural Business Development Centre from Wednesday to Friday each week.
We asked Beth a few questions for a bit of background about herself…
What are your connections to agriculture?
I have been involved with farming all my life, from helping on the family farm in Llantrisant since childhood I then worked for Amelia Trust Farm, a 160 acre mixed care farm for 10 years, seven of which I was farm manager. I was involved with YFC since being a teenager and was County Organiser for Brecknock YFC for three years. I am a qualified teacher and whilst at Amelia Trust worked in alternative education. We had over 100 volunteers who I worked closely with whilst they were volunteering on the farm.
What do you do to ease stress?
Since having three young children I have very little time to myself but find sitting down at the end of a long day and watching Wales or the Scarlets play rugby or any easy watch programmes or stand-up comedy shows helps ease away stress. However, when I have time, I also find going for lunch or coffee with friends in the best way to ease stress for me.
What are you grateful for?
Having a wonderful family, especially my husband and being blessed by our three children. Also living in a picturesque part of Carmarthenshire.
Tell is a little known fact about yourself…
I’ve completed two tandem skydives for charity.
What are you most looking forward to in your new job?
I’m looking forward to supporting the staff team and volunteers, and being part of a charity which offers such a crucial service to the agricultural industry and farming community.