NEW research from leading rural insurer NFU Mutual has revealed that ongoing Coronavirus lockdown measures are taking their toll on the mental health of communities across the UK.

Recognising the challenges communities are facing, NFU Mutual has today launched its Winter campaign, working with Samaritans to share the charity’s tools and resources to help anyone who is finding things difficult.

In 2020, the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust has donated over £1m to 20 UK charities. The increased donations were made possible by an additional pledge of £750,000 from insurer NFU Mutual to help support charities through the Coronavirus crisis.

Samaritans is one of the charities to have benefitted from these donations. This year, the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust is supporting Samaritans’ response to the pandemic and its work in rural communities. Earlier this year, the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust supported the charity’s Real People, Real Stories campaign to reach those most at risk, particularly men aged 20-59 in agricultural industries, and beyond.

Samaritans is there for anyone struggling to cope. The charity responds to a call for help every seven seconds.

In the six months of restrictions since March 2020, Samaritans’ volunteers have provided emotional support more than 1.2 million times by phone, email or letter. Research with over 1,400 of the charity’s volunteers suggests that around one in five calls for help to Samaritans are about coronavirus, with volunteers suggesting it is mentioned in almost all calls.

Anxiety in particular has increased among callers month on month, even as lockdown is being eased.