East Anglia: YANA care expands from Norfolk into Suffolk

It was four years ago that the YANA (You Are Not Alone) project was set up.

Supported by Norfolk farming charities, it has helped to raise awareness of mental health issues and depression among the wider community as well as the medical and caring professions.

Now, it is being extended into Suffolk. A new dedicated telephone number – 0300 323 0400 – has also been set up. Calls to the original number can still be made.

By promising total confidence, even the handful of members on the organising committee do not know exactly how many calls have been received over the years. But it is really helping, said one of the trustees.

The launch of the YANA website has also been a further key reason for success because it has received more than 20,000 “visits” over the years.

This small charity has made people more aware of the importance of mental health and of the need to see a doctor promptly when depression raises its head. There is more understanding, too, that depression is not a stigma but a medical condition or illness, which can be helped.

YANA’s doctors, counsellors and helpline have been there to listen and support, not just those with depression, but anyone involved in farming in any way whose life is affected by it. All calls are totally confidential.

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The charity has a presence at farming events across Norfolk and now it is spreading its wings further afield. For example, every surgery has YANA literature.

The revamped YANA website gives advice on what to do if family members or friends or business contacts have concerns about someone.

There are a range of practical measures, which may be appropriate.

YANA has now launched the new website with new dedicated telephone number – 0300 323 0400.